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US Poet Louise Gluck Wins Nobel Prize in Literature for Making 'Individual Existence Universal'

By: Buzz Staff


Last Updated: October 08, 2020, 17:56 IST

Louise Gluck | Image credit: Twitter

Louise Gluck | Image credit: Twitter

Louise Gluck is the author of works like 'The Wild Iris' and has previously won the Pulitzer Prize for Poetry in 1993 and the Bollinger Award in 2001.

American poet Louise Gluck won the 2020 Nobel Prize in Literature for “her unmistakable poetic voice that with austere beauty makes individual existence universal”, the Swedish Academy said on Thursday.

Gluck was born in 1943 in New York. She currently teaches English at Yale University and is a resident of Massachusetts.

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

It also added that Gluck was “surprised" when she got the call about the Nobel win.


This is not the first award for the highly celebrated author. In 1993, her collection of poems called ‘The Wild Iris’ Won the Pulitzer Award for Poetry. She has also won the National Award as well as the Bollinger Award among other illustrious honors.

Her poetry deals with themes focused on family, death, and emotions and the rather painful human condition of existence.

The Nobel prizes are named after dynamite inventor and wealthy businessman Alfred Nobel and have been awarded since 1901 for achievements in science, literature, and peace in accordance with his will.

Nobel prizes for medicine, physics and chemistry were awarded earlier this week, and the peace prize is to be announced on Friday.

The literature prize has been dogged by controversy over the past several years.

In 2019 the Academy exceptionally named two winners after postponing the 2018 prize in the wake of a sexual assault scandal involving the husband of one of its members.

The secretive, 234-year-old Academy later announced changes it billed as improving the transparency of the awards process.

But one of the literature laureates announced last year, the Austrian novelist and playright Peter Handke, had drawn wide international criticism over his portrayal of Serbia as a victim during the 1990s Balkan wars and for attending the funeral of its nationalist strongman leader Slobodan Milosevic.

Milosevic died in detention in 2006 while awaiting trial on genocide charges at the U.N. war crimes tribunal in The Hague.

The 2016 literature prize granted to American singer-songwriter Bob Dylan sharply divided opinion over whether a popular musician should be given an award that had been largely the domain of novelists and playwrights.

Like much of public life around the world, this year’s awards have taken place under the shadow of the coronavirus pandemic, which led to the cancellation of the splashy Nobel prize-giving ceremony held each December in Stockholm.

Instead, a televised event will be held with winners receiving their honours in their home countries.

(With inputs from Reuters)

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first published:October 08, 2020, 17:29 IST
last updated:October 08, 2020, 17:56 IST