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Louise Glück






Process Narrative

Louise Glück does not use a computer. For her, the transition between physical and mechanized drafting is neither linear nor chronological. Earlier in her career, she composed poems on a typewriter–and from there, the shift was not from typewriter to computer, but rather back to longhand drafting (which was also how she composed her first book, Firstborn). When transposing poems from her notebook to the typewriter, Glück revises as she goes–stopping whenever she reaches an impasse or ineffective line, putting a new sheet of paper in the typewriter, and starting over. Other times, when she is experiencing a productive ‘brain corner,’ she composes directly on the typewriter. Her process, then, varies from project to project.

When it comes to archives, Glück points out the limited value of these typewritten drafts to future scholars (most of which are simply typed pages, with few longhand notes, if any). Her notebooks, on the other hand, are rich with personal, diaristic content, as well as working lines for poems.

In terms of revision, Glück seeks out the inherent parallels and connections that emerge within a working collection of poems–those that don’t necessarily make themselves readily apparent during the writing process itself. Her driving priority in revising individual poems has evolved from seeking something more honed and perfect to capturing a quotidian, ‘human sounding,’voice–a sound akin to daily speech. Glück achieves this sonic revision without reading her poems aloud. Rather, she ‘hears with her eyes’ and picks up on rhythmic structures in her head.