American poet Louise Glück wins Nobel Prize in Literature 2020 for 'unmistakable poetic voice'

Glück made her literary debut with the work Firstborn in 1968 and has published 12 volumes of poetry including collections like The Triumph of Achilles (1985) and Ararat (1990).

FP Staff October 08, 2020 16:47:53 IST
American poet Louise Glück wins Nobel Prize in Literature 2020 for 'unmistakable poetic voice'

Glück made her literary debut with the work Firstborn in 1968. Image via Twitter

The Nobel Prize in Literature for 2020 was awarded to the American poet, Louise Glück on 8 October by the Swedish Academy.

Announcing the Nobel laureate of this year, the Permanent Secretary Mats Malm said Glück has been awarded the prize "for her unmistakable poetic voice that with austere beauty makes individual existence universal".

Glück made her literary debut with the work Firstborn in 1968 and has published 12 volumes of poetry including collections like The Triumph of Achilles (1985) and Ararat (1990). In the National Book Award and Pulitzer Prize-winning author's work, one can encounter deceptively natural tones, straightforward, painful images of family relations and a candid, uncompromising language. Apart from her writing, Glück is a professor of English at Yale University.

American poet Louise Glck wins Nobel Prize in Literature 2020 for unmistakable poetic voice

Literature Laureate 2020 Louise Glück. Image via Twitter/@NobelPrize

In one of her most lauded collections, The Wild Iris (1992), for which she was awarded the Pulitzer Prize, Glück describes the miraculous return of life after winter in the poem Snowdrops:

I did not expect to survive,
earth suppressing me. I didn’t expect
to waken again, to feel
in damp earth my body
able to respond again, remembering
after so long how to open again
in the cold light
of earliest spring –

afraid, yes, but among you again
crying yes risk joy

in the raw wind of the new world.

The Swedish Academy has been awarding the Nobel Prize in Literature since 1901 to authors and writers who have produced outstanding work contributing to a literary cannon that is of greatest benefit to the humankind. Every year, the Nobel Committee picks the awardee from as many as 350 proposals that reach the academy. In addition to being named the Literature Laureate, Glück will be awarded a prize purse of 10 million SEK.

In 2018 the award was postponed after sex abuse allegations rocked the Swedish Academy, the secretive body that chooses the winners, and sparked a mass exodus of members.

After the academy revamped itself in a bid to regain the trust of the Nobel Foundation, two laureates were named last year, with the 2018 prize going to Poland’s Olga Tokarczuk and the 2019 award to Austria’s Peter Handke.

Handke’s prize caused a storm of protest: a strong supporter of the Serbs during the 1990s Balkan wars, he has been called an apologist for Serbian war crimes. Several countries including Albania, Bosnia and Turkey boycotted the Nobel awards ceremony in protest, and a member of the committee that nominates candidates for the literature prize resigned.

This year, the tradition of receiving the Nobel Prize from the hands of his Majesty the King at the Stockholm Concert Hall stands cancelled due to the COVID-19 pandemic.

Watch the announcement of the Nobel Prize for Literature 2020 here —

With inputs from The Associated Press

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