Monday, June 30, 2008
Louise Gluck has won numerous literary awards in addition to serving as Poet Laureate to the United States. She currently teaches at Yale University. Without asking her permission, the River Junction Poets hosted a free event open to the public at the Barnes & Noble bookstore in Saginaw, Michigan in her honor near the time of her birthday. Our intent was not to arrive at a perfect or ultimate understanding of her or her poetry but rather to read and enjoy a few of her poems and to learn a bit about her and about what she believes about poetry. I found a few things online prior to our meeting on the 17th of April (2007) which I brought with me. The articles I liked best were at the Modern American Poetry website.
The night we met at the bookstore, we had nine people in our group, two of whom are actually members of the River Junction Poets (Saginaw's poetry group), three others of whom are students. You know, to the students who join our group I say "God bless you" because I am sure there is nothing or next to nothing we do at our meetings that will help you on any standardized tests or final exams. Now that I think of it, that may explain why we never see any students a second time. Anyway, the night we met, we signed a birthday card and sealed it up in an envelope along with a store flier that indicated our event that night. A few days later I received a note from Ms. Gluck in my mailbox. She sent a card of heavy stock paper with 'Louise Gluck' (with an umlat over the u in Gluck) and a little leaf curling beneath her name embossed at the top and in the center on one side. Then she has handwritten the following note:
Dear Andrew Christ & friends - Thank you for the funny card, though April 17 isn't my birthday. But my father (who wrote verse) did, with his brother-in-law, start X-acto. Your list of readings stays on my refrigerator. Many thanks - [signed] Louise Gluck
Then she has beneath that drawn the outline of a figure of a person holding a flower next to which she has printed, 'POET, RELAXING.' The card we sent said to relax on your birthday.
In case you didn't know, Ms. Gluck has a page at MySpace.com. You might want to check it out.
If you don't have a Birthdays of Poets group near you, you can get some ideas as to how it can be done from this blog.