US poet Louise Glück wins Nobel Prize in Literature

US poet Louise Glück wins Nobel Prize in Literature

The Nobel Prize in Literature has been awarded to American poet Louise Glück for her “unmistakable poetic voice that with austere beauty makes individual existence universal".

Glück was announced as the winner by the Swedish Academy on 8th October.

Born in 1943 in New York and now living in Cambridge, Massachusetts, the poet made her debut in 1968 with Firstborn (Anvil Press). In all, she has published 12 collections of poetry along with several volumes of essays.

Anders Olsson, chairman of the Nobel Committee, said: “All are characterised by a striving for clarity. Childhood and family life, the close relationship with parents and siblings, is a thematic that has remained central with her. In her poems, the self listens for what is left of its dreams and delusions, and nobody can be harder than she in confronting the illusions of the self.”

Glück's previous poetry prizes include the 1993 Pulitzer for The Wild Iris (Carcanet) and 2014 National Book Award for Faithful and Virtuous Night (Carcanet).

Carcanet has been publishing Glück since 1996 when its m.d. Michael Schmidt was told more about her work by Irish poet Eavan Boland. The press has released seven of her books, one containing her first five collections, and will now be reprinting them all.

Schmidt said: “She is a poet of remarkable integrity, writing poems for the reader and for the language, and not designed for public performance. A poet, then, with readers more than audiences in mind. Each of her books is quite different from the one before. She remains alive to expanding experience and to time passing.”

He added: “It always strikes me how she honours the term ‘poet’ in a timeless way, having little truck with contemporary literary or political fashion. She writes with amazement about recovery and return to the world after deep and difficult experience, and she comprehends deep and difficult experiences. Each book returns to a different apprehension of the world and learns rather than teaches a different sense of survival and celebration.”