Daily Camera (Boulder)

Amer­i­can poet Louise Glück wins No­bel

- By Hil­lel Italie

NEW YORK — Louise Glück, an Amer­i­can poet long revered for the power, in­ven­tive­ness and con­ci­sion of her work and for her gen­eros­ity to younger writ­ers, has won the No­bel Prize in Lit­er­a­ture.

The No­bel Com­mit­tee on Thurs­day praised her as “can­did and un­com­pro­mis­ing” in grant­ing a rare honor for a U.S. poet, with Wal­lace Stevens, Gwen­dolyn Brooks and Robert Frost among her pre­de­ces­sors who were by­passed. Glück spoke briefly to re­porters wait­ing out­side her home in Cam­bridge, Mass., say­ing she felt

“ag­i­ta­tion, joy, grat­i­tude.”

Glück is a for­mer U.S. poet lau­re­ate who had al­ready re­ceived vir­tu­ally ev­ery honor pos­si­ble for a poet, in­clud­ing the Pulitzer Prize in 1993 for “The Wild Iris,” the Na­tional Book Award in 2014 for “Faith­ful and Vir­tu­ous Night” and a Na­tional Hu­man­i­ties Medal in 2015. She is just the 16th woman to get the No­bel for lit­er­a­ture since it was started in 1901.

“As one of our most cel­e­brated Amer­i­can po­ets, we are thrilled that Louise Glück has re­ceived this year’s No­bel Prize in Lit­er­a­ture,” Michael Jacobs, chair­man of the Academy of Amer­i­can Po­ets, said in a state­ment. “Her po­ems, her over­all body of work, and her ut­terly dis­tinc­tive voice, present the hu­man con­di­tion in mem­o­rable, breath­tak­ing lan­guage.”

A na­tive of New York City, de­scended in part from Hun­gar­ian Jews, Glück be­gan read­ing po­etry ob­ses­sively as a child, and by her early teens, she was al­ready try­ing to have her work pub­lished. She strug­gled with anorexia as an ado­les­cent, later say­ing that her eat­ing disor­der was less an ex­pres­sion of de­spair than of her de­sire to free the soul from the con­fines of her body, a theme that later arose in her work. The 77-year-old Glück has drawn from both per­sonal ex­pe­ri­ence and com­mon his­tory and mythol­ogy, whether re­vis­it­ing the fi­nal sec­tion of “The Iliad” in “Pene­lope’s Song” or the ab­duc­tion of Perse­phone in “Perse­phone’s Song,” in which she imag­ines Perse­phone “ly­ing in the bed of Hades”:

“What is in her mind?/ Is she afraid? Has some­thing/ blot­ted out the idea/ of mind?”

An­ders Ol­son, chair­man of the No­bel lit­er­a­ture com­mit­tee, said that “Glück seeks the uni­ver­sal, and in this she takes in­spi­ra­tion from myths and clas­si­cal mo­tifs, present in most of her works.

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