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American Poet Louise Glück Awarded Nobel Prize in Literature

Great news for the American poetic tradition!

American poet Louise Glück won the Nobel Prize in Literature on Thursday for what the judges described as “her unmistakable poetic voice that with austere beauty makes individual existence universal.”

The judges have selected a poet who's work is ideally suited to the pandemic era and its rising levels of stress, isolation, and personal strife. The Nobel committee noted that Ms. Glück's "almost brutally straightforward images of painful family relations" were tempered with a "voice full of humor and biting wit."Renewal is another of her themes, offering hope amid the sometimes bewildering and wounding tangle of human relations."

Throughout her career, Ms. Glück has explored themes of trauma and loss as well as healing and rebirth, often in stripped-down, simple language. Literary critics have said that in doing so, she managed to transform the everyday into a broader and poignant representation of loneliness and pain while at the same time offering promise.

Born in New York City, Ms. Glück made her poetry debut in 1968 with “Firstborn” and soon established herself as one of the U.S.’s most prominent contemporary poets.

Ms. Glück has received several awards already, including the Pulitzer Prize in 1993 and the National Book Award in 2014. From 2003 to 2004, she was the U.S. Poet Laureate. She is currently a professor of English at Yale University, New Haven, Conn.

(Photo from Library of Congress collection, https://loc.gov, 2003, when she was named the U.S. Poet Laureate)

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