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Louise Glück

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  • Louise Glűck is the author of twelve books of poems and two collections of essays. She received the 2020 Nobel Prize in Literature "for her unmistakable poetic voice that with austere beauty makes individual existence universal." Her other awards include the National Humanities Medal, the Pulitzer Prize, the National Book Award, the Bollingen Prize, the Wallace Stevens Award from the Academy of American Poets, and the Gold Medal for Poetry from the American Academy of Arts and Letters. She teaches at Yale University and Stanford University and lives in Cambridge, Massachusetts.


    'A slim volume of just 15 pieces, but like all the Nobel laureate's work, it punches above its apparent weight. Glück has always been a fastidiously exact truth-teller; her lucid poems pretend to a plainness that's really the simplicity of something more fully worked out than the rest of us can manage. It is a hallmark of late, great writing, as is the courage to go into the dark... We're back in the stylised, half-dreamed Glück landscapes that are rural equivalents of an Edward Hopper painting, and back with her astonishing poetry'

    Fiona Sampson, The Guardian
    'Gluck's essays are delicate, tactful, self-aware and wry; her sense of humour is so understated that you might miss it if you think of her solely as a poet of tenacity and autumnal smokiness... Reading American Originality alongside her first essay collection, Proofs and Theories (1994), a portrait emerges of a wilful, embattled child who earned her stern serenity not only through loss but also through that miraculous state of grace that poetry can provide'

    Ange Mlinko, Literary Review

    'Glück's poems face truths that most people, most poets, deny: the way old age comes for us if we’re lucky; the way we make promises we cannot keep; the way disappointment infiltrates even the most fortunate of adult timelines. She's not a poet you read to cheer yourself up. She is, however, a poet of wisdom. And her declarations, her decisions, her conclusions, build and displace one another as the poems go on: even the sharpest claims require their poetic frames and contrasts. A Glück book can seem both visceral and cerebral, full of thought and full of grit and pith... All poets come from somewhere; no poet speaks for us all. We can say, though, that Glück's plain lines and wide views address experience common to many: feeling neglected, feeling too young or too old, and - sometimes - loving the life we find.'

    Stephanie Burt, The Guardian

    'Glück sings devastatingly gorgeous songs... This twist of the knife is one that Glück's lyrics perform with disquieting regularity: sweetness sours, tone grows as slippery as a cake of wet soap... The philosophical Glück remains recognizably linked to a tradition that calls words to account, doles out emotions parsimoniously and likes surfaces to play hide and seek with their depths'

    Beverley Bie Brahic, Times Literary Supplement
    'Her writing's emotional and rhetorical intensity are beyond dispute. Not once in six books has she wavered from a formal seriousness, an unhurried sense of control and a starkness of expression that, like a scalpel, slices the mist dwelling between hope and pain.'
    Washington Post
    'Gluck stands at the centre of time and speaks, not with raw emotion or linguistic abandon, but with the ageless urgency of questions about the soul.'
    Partisan Review
    'Characteristically sure-footed, Glück speaks to our time in a voice that is onstage, but heard from the wings.'
    Publishers Weekly
    Awards won by Louise Glück Short-listed, 2014 Forward Prize for Best Collection (Faithful and Virtuous Night) Short-listed, 2014 T. S. Eliot Prize (Faithful and Virtuous Night) Winner, 1993 Pulitzer Prize (The Wild Iris)
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