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Video: Louise Gluck on Being a Poet

Written by

Louise Glück
Contributor Page

Year

2008

Type

Video
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In this clip from The Poet's View: Intimate Profiles of Five Major American Poets—which also features Kay Ryan, John Ashbery, Anthony Hecht, and W. S. Merwin—Louise Gluck talks about being a poet as the most miraculous thing to do.

Transcript

It's so obviously the most miraculous thing to do, I have to remind myself that not everyone in the world actually wants to be a poet. Many people aren't even remotely interested in it, but it's so clear to me that, of course, it's what you want to do.

I started working on something, and it was really bad, it was crummy. But I was really so happy just to be working on a little crummy thing. And I would get home, and I would think, "it's waiting for me!" You know, I would have the draft on the counter, and I would move it from room to room. And I would look at it, and each time I looked at it, it was still the same thing. I was sitting in bed with my draft and reading it, and all of a sudden I thought: "I know what this needs. It needs a swerve. It needs German. It needs a German line." But I don't speak German! So I called one of my friends, and said: "How do you say this in German?"

In the silence of consciousness I ask myself:
why did I reject my life? And I answer
Die Erde überwältigt mich:
the earth defeats me.

—from "Landscape—Part 4"