What was the first thought of 77-year-old American Louise Gluck, this year's Nobel prize winner in Literature when she was first informed of the announcement? "My first thought was I won't have any friends, because most of my friends are writers," that's what Gluck said during an interview.
This was among the many thoughts that had crossed the American poet's mind when she learnt of her Nobel Prize 2020 win.
The world saw a Nobel win under the category of literature after several years of controversy and scandal for the Swedish Academy, who awards the accolade.
Louise Gluck, an American poet has finally won the Nobel Prize for her inventiveness and concision of her work and her work with younger writers. The win feels somewhat somehow personal to women across the world when they listen to Gluck where the litterateur comes across as a woman who is just so endearingly unassuming and yet obviously someone who has been so concise and on point with her work.
As non-fussy and quiet as one's early mornings are, for Gluck, all she really was looking forward to before talking about her big Nobel win was "some coffee or something", as she said when she received a call from the Nobel Prize on Thursday morning from Adam Smith, Chief Scientific Officer of Nobel Media. She spoke briefly from her home in Cambridge, Massachusetts and was promised that it won't take more than 2-3 minutes and whatever she was asked won't be anything onerous, Gluck finally gives in and starts talking.
"My first thought was ‘I won’t have any friends’ because most of them are writers. But then I thought ‘no, that won’t happen’. It’s too new, you know...I don’t know really what it means. And I don’t know whether, I mean it’s a great honour, and then of course there are recipients I don’t admire, but then I think of the ones that I do, and some very recent," Gluck said.
Then she talked about what she wants to do with the Nobel Prize money. "I think, practically, I wanted to buy another house, a house in Vermont – I have a condo in Cambridge – and I thought ‘well, I can buy a house now’. But mostly I am concerned for the preservation of daily life with the people I love."
True, it mostly feels like an intrusion, as Smith says, to which Gluck responds, "It’s disruptive, the phone ringing all the time. It’s ringing now, squeaking into my ear."
Gluck's books are wide and varied and as readers and admirers of poetry, one would like to start somewhere. Probed about it, Gluck says there is nothing as such most characteristic about her books as they are all very different from one another.
"I would suggest that they not read my first book unless they want to feel contempt, but everything after that I think is of some interest. I like my recent work. I would say ‘Averno’ or my last book ‘Faithful and Virtuous Night’.
As brief as the interview is, with Gluck having granted only 2-3 minutes before she needed her morning cuppa, a mention of the value of lived experience is passed upon for another time, but not before she emphasizes on its enormity.
"That’s too big, and it’s too early here – it’s barely seven o’clock. I’m sure there are things to say, and I’m sure I would have ideas. But…"
The interviewer knows he is onto a minefield of ideas, thoughts and much more, but it will probably have to wait for another time.
The Swedish Academy on Thursday while announcing the 2020 Nobel Prize in Literature, said Gluck won for “her unmistakable poetic voice that with austere beauty makes individual existence universal”.