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Louise Glück, Nobel Prize-winning Poet, Dies Age 80

Monday, 16 Oct 2023

Louise Glück It is with deep sadness that Carcanet Press announces the death of Louise Glück (1943 - 2023). Her remarkable poems have been published in the UK across her entire writing life, initially with Anvil and, since 1996, by Carcanet. It has been a recurring pleasure for all of us at Carcanet to publish this remarkable poet for three decades.

Greeting her classic 1996 collection The Wild Iris, Helen Vendler caught something of her poetry’s fierce, brilliant independence: 'Louise Glück is a poet of strong and haunting presence. Her poems, published in a series of memorable books over the last twenty years, have achieved the unusual distinction of being neither "confessional" nor "intellectual" in the usual senses of those words, which are often thought to represent two camps in the life of poetry'.

Louise Glück would continue to steer that original path through the great books that followed, including Averno and A Village Life and, most recently, her first fable-like fiction, Marigold and Rose (2022), and Winter Recipes from the Collective (2021).

In her essay ‘The Education of the Poet’, Glück wrote, “The dream of art is not to assert what is already known but to illuminate what has been hidden”. For 50 years, Glück listened hard for hidden voices and found images which speak both to personal crises and perennial mysteries, an endeavour recognised in 2020 by the award of the Nobel Prize in Literature. The citation recognised that ‘if Glück would never deny the significance of the autobiographical background, she is not to be regarded as a confessional poet. Glück seeks the universal, and in this she takes inspiration from myths and classical motifs, present in most of her works.’

One of this candid poet’s most striking lines, from her poem ‘Nostos’, a Greek word for homecoming, speaks to the astonishing recoveries her poems enact for her readers: “We look at the world once, in childhood. The rest is memory.”
Alongside the 2020 Nobel Prize, 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.

--John McAuliffe and Michael Schmidt, Carcanet

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