Louise Glück: American Poet and Nobel Laureate

From a Wall Street Journal obit by Suryatapa Bhattacharya headlined “Louise Glück, American Poet and Nobel Laureate, Dies at 80”:

American poet Louise Glück, who was awarded the Nobel Prize in Literature, has died.

Glück’s death was confirmed by Eliza Fischer, her agent for public speaking events. “She was a remarkable poet, writer, teacher, mother, client, and friend,” said Fischer.

Born in New York City, Glück made her debut in 1968 with “Firstborn” and soon established herself as a prominent contemporary poet. She found a broader audience with collections such as 1985’s “The Triumph of Achilles” and 1990’s “Ararat.”

In 1993, she won the Pulitzer Prize for “The Wild Iris.”

Glück was the U.S. Poet Laureate from 2003 to 2004, and received the National Book Award in 2014. She taught English and creative writing at several universities.

When awarding her the Nobel Prize in 2020, the judges noted “her unmistakable poetic voice that with austere beauty makes individual existence universal.

Glück said she sometimes relied on music when writing her poetry. Writing an autobiographical post for the Nobel Prize’s website, she said it seemed “each book had a score.” She said compositions from Henry Purcell, Gustav Mahler, Johannes Brahms and Sam Cooke informed her works.

“Always I am someone longing to be a poet, to make something never heard before, to be taken out of myself. That it happened at all is a wonder,” Glück wrote in her post on the Nobel Prize website.

Some scholars consider much of Glück’s work to be based on or inspired by her own life. A sister died before she was born, which appeared to influence much of her writing.

Her father co-founded the company behind the X-Acto knife and her mother was a homemaker, she said. Glück described her mother as someone who “had the temperament and stamina and force of an empire builder.”

Henri Cole, a fellow poet and longtime friend, said Glück’s poems were both restrained and emotional. There were echoes of greats such as Sylvia Plath in her work “yet she overcame all these strong voices to make something of her own,” he said. “For many of us, she was a liberator.”

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