February 21, 2023

Robert Glück (USA) 1947

Robert Glück (USA) 

Robert Glück was born in Cleveland, Ohio in 1947. His family moved to the West Valley of Los Angeles when he was eleven. In Los Angeles he attended the University of California, Los Angeles, and later, The University of Edinburgh, the College of Art in Edinburgh, and the University of California, Berkeley, where he received his BA in 1969.
     For a while he lived on a commune in the Sierras before moving to New York, where he attended Ted Berrigan’s writing workshops. He moved to San Francisco and earned an MA degree from San Francisco State University.
    Glück worked as a housepainter in the Feminist House Painting Collective, as a carpenter, and then as the Co-Director of Small Press Traffic Literary Center. He led workshops at the Center which were a sort of laboratory for New Narrative writing. Glück has written: “We were thinking about autobiography; by autobiography we meant daydreams, nightdreams, the act of writing, the relationship to the reader, the meeting of flesh and culture, the self as collaborator, the self as disintegration, the gaps, the inconsistencies and distortions, the enjambments of power, family, history, and language.
     Glück was involved in anti-nuclear and anti-interventionist politics, and was arrested many times in non-violent protests. He was an Associate Editor at Lapis Press and Director of The Poetry Center at San Francisco State, where he continues to teach.
    He is the author of nine books of poetry and fiction. His most recent work, Denny Smith, a collection of stories, was published by Clear Cut Press in 2004. Glück’s two novels are Jack the Modernist and Margery Kempe. Another book of stories was titled Elements of a Coffee Service.
     Among his works of poetry are Reader (which also includes short prose) and La Fontaine, rewritings of that author with Bruce Boone. Glück’s work has been highly anthologized in books such as New Directions Anthology, City Lights Anthologies, Best New Gay Fiction (of 1988 and 1996), Best American Erotic (1996 and 2005), and The Faber Book of Gay Short Fiction. His critical writings have appeared widely, including a long essay on the work of Kathy Acker in Lust for Life. Along with Camille Roy, Mary Berger, and Gail Scott, he edited Narrativity, a website on narrative theory. An anthology based on the website, Biting the Error: Writers on Narrative, was published by Coach House Press in 2005.
    Glück observes of his work included in this volume: “This long poem is composed of all my misreadings. It is a kind of autobiography organized by my unconscious, because each misreading is a small dream, a dream that occurs on the page.”
       More recently, he has collected his essays as Communal Nude: Collected Essays.


Andy (Los Angeles and San Francisco: Panjandrum Press, 1973); Marsha Poems (San Francisco: Hoddypoll Press, 1973); Metaphysics (San Francisco: Hoddypoll Press, 1978); Family Poems [poems and short prose] (San Francisco: Black Star Series, 1979); La Fontaine [with Bruce Boone] (San Francisco: Black Star Series, 1982); Reader [poems and short prose] (Santa Monica, California: Lapis Press, 1989)

╬Winner of the PIP Gertrude Stein Awards for Innovative Poetry in English 2005-2006


from I, Boombox


Shakespeare’s glittering

In the sun. Blow

Buddy from mantrap

W/mustache fluffed

The ecstatic inferior,

The design of the

85% room.

Secretive and

Passionate, he really

Hopped that wasn’t

True. Multi-radical

From macho to micro,

Verbal knit love

Pitched between

Tenderness and volume,

Fucking a young

Muscle buffoon.

My penis stands

For something.

Bearded headache.

A miniature surveyor

The long scratch

Between stations.

The devastation of

The dollar for

Unblemished fun,

The penis cinemateque.

Parenteral nutrition

Marginal appetite.

Or giving Prozac

Room an exotic

Accent to reproach

Another part of

The divan. Love

Reptiles with pics.

Star in the mildew

Along the Peruvian

Coast in Lake

Archaic. Expensively

Good, I prefer acting

OUT. I felt a

Little bite out

Of it. Trick

The market, early

Modern nudes that

People are undulating

About or striking

Rigid poems.

That laptop laugh.

Jimmy the Window

Smoothes his lanoline

Soaked hair and nipples

Kissing, mourning,

Hiking, the rumbling

Of Heckert’s


Shows Prostrates

Gathered in front

Of a church

In the seventies

They ate hurriedly

From the pack

At bitter campfire

To miss the

Executing draft.

NBA Bars 4

After a Brawl

Of innovating forms.

Text dreams as text

Away from motive.

That suddenly

Adopted the wind.

In its boredom

Light presents itself.

Major watercolor fodder,

Alternative definitive

Blond, Sol Lewitt

Sodomized me, the

Vast mark

Of his face

Hangs here—sudden

Light underneath

A cornice. Myself

As dilemma, sometimes

For centuries a lost

Bottom boy. The

Website of Zard

Omran, my brother,

Or the notion of

His freedomed collapse

His own gray

Domestic animals.



Reprinted from Shampoo, No. 24 (2005). Copryight ©2005 by Robert Glück.


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