U.S. poet Gluck awarded Nobel Prize in Literature

2020-10-09 10:18:22China Daily Editor : Feng Shuang ECNS App Download

The 2020 Nobel Prize in Literature has been awarded to US poet Louise Gluck "for her unmistakable poetic voice that with austere beauty makes individual existence universal".

Born in 1943 in New York and living in Cambridge, Massachusetts, Gluck made her debut in 1968 with Firstborn, and was soon acclaimed as one of the most prominent poets in US contemporary literature.

She is also a professor of English at Yale University, New Haven, Connecticut.

Gluck has received several prestigious awards, among them the Pulitzer Prize in 1993 and the National Book Award in 2014.

Gluck, the 16th woman to win the Nobel Prize in Literature, has published 12 collections of poetry and some volumes of essays on poetry.

Anders Olsson, chairman of the Nobel Committee, said Gluck's works are "characterized 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".

Olsson added:"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. But even if Gluck would never deny the significance of the autobiographical background, she is not to be regarded as a confessional poet.

"Gluck seeks the universal, and in this she takes inspiration from myths and classical motifs, present in most of her works."

Gluck is described as "not only engaged by the errancies and shifting conditions of life, she is also a poet of radical change and rebirth, where the leap forward is made from a deep sense of loss".

The poet found a growing audience in the United States and abroad with collections such as The Triumph of Achilles published in 1985 and Ararat in 1990.

Deceptively natural tone

The Nobel Committee said:"Gluck has also pointed out that in these poems she realized how to employ ordinary diction in her poetry. The deceptively natural tone is striking. We encounter almost brutally straightforward images of painful family relations. It is candid and uncompromising, with no trace of poetic ornament."

The committee also highlighted her latest collection, 2014's Faithful and Virtuous Night, for which Gluck received the National Book Award.

"The reader is again struck by the presence of voice and Gluck approaches the motif of death with remarkable grace and lightness. She writes oneiric, narrative poetry recalling memories and travels, only to hesitate and pause for new insights. The world is disenthralled, only to become magically present once again," Olsson concluded.


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