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2020 Nobel Prize For Literature Awarded to American Poet Louise Glück

This year the odds of the Nobel Prize for Literature went in favour of the poetry and the female American poet. The Swedish Academy has chosen Louise Glück "for her unmistakable poetic voice that with austere beauty makes individual existence universal."

Louise Glück is the 16th woman to win the Nobel and the first American woman to win the Nobel Prize for literature in 27 years. “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,” Anders Olsson, the chair of the Nobel prize committee, said. “But even if Glück would never deny the significance of the autobiographical background, she is not to be regarded as a confessional poet.”

Born in New York City in 1943, Louise Glück was already publishing her poetry in literary journals by her early twenties. Her first collection, Firstborn (1968), focused on painful memories of childhood and adolescence: a sister who died before she was born left Louise Glück with "the guilty responsibility of the survivor," meanwhile being anorexic as a teenager she wrote her experience into the poem Dedication to Hunger. "It was clear to me long ago," she wrote in an essay published in 1985, "that any hope I had of writing real poetry depended on my living through common experiences."

If you haven't read this poet yet, consider the advise of Louise Glück herself for her new readers: “I would suggest they don’t read my first book unless they want to feel contempt. But everything after that might be of interest. I like my recent work. Averno would be a place to start, or my last book Faithful and Virtuous Night.”

Last year the Academy announced two Nobel Prize for literature winners for 2018 and 2019: Polish author Olga Tokarczuk, and the Austrian writer Peter Handke.


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