The Goddard College community is thrilled to celebrate the selection of former faculty member, Louise Glück, as the 2020 Nobel Prize in Literature winner.
Glück’s relationship with Goddard dates from the late ‘60s when she was invited to attend a summer writer’s gathering, one of several precursors to today’s Clockhouse Writers’ Conference & Retreat held annually at the Plainfield, VT campus in July. Already a poet of some acclaim having published her first collection, Firstborn, in 1968, Glück attended the retreat with the hopes of meeting icons like fellow poet, John Berryman. She also hoped to find a way to move past a severe case of writer’s block she developed in the wake of her early success.
By all accounts Glück enjoyed her time in Vermont falling in love with the rural atmosphere. She also became involved in a relationship with the coordinator of the gathering, John Dranow, who served on Goddard faculty. They would later marry and reside in Plainfield where their first child, Noah, was born in 1973.
For Glück, the offer to teach at Goddard in 1971 came as a surprise. Although she received several prior offers from other schools, Goddard College was Glück’s first teaching post and one she accepted not without some trepidation. As she would later recall in a 2014 interview with Poets & Writers magazine, “I came to the conclusion that I wasn’t going to be a writer, so I took a teaching job in Vermont, though I had spent my life till that point thinking that real poets don’t teach. But I took this job, and the minute I started teaching — the minute I had obligations in the world — I started to write again.”
Glück would continue to teach at the college through the early ‘80s before accepting a position at Williams College in 1983 and later Yale in 2003.
Students and former faculty recall Glück as “very enigmatic” and someone who the college was fortunate to have on faculty. Reflecting on Glück’s influence, Carl Grundberg (RUP ‘74) states, “I never wanted or tried to write like Louise–rather, her importance in my life was an example of what was possible. It was obvious that her talent transcended any school or clique of poetry.”
Regarding her recent accomplishment, Ralph Culver (RUP ‘74) speaks for many in the community when he states, “Utterly and thoroughly deserved. Long overdue.”
Louise Glück is only one of many award winning writers who have taught or are currently teaching at Goddard College. The MFA in Creative Writing program continues to attract luminary writers from around the world. Applications for Spring 2021 are currently being accepted on a rolling basis.