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Meet Louise Glück, the 16th Woman to Receive the Nobel Prize for Literature

Her "unmistakable poetic voice" makes her works unique and relatable.

The Nobel Prize is one of the most sought-after awards in the world. It was established in 1895 through the will of Swedish chemist, industrialist, and engineer Alfred Nobel, and recognizes advancements in various fields such as physics, chemistry, and economic sciences.

But did you know that aside from the sciences, the Nobel Prize is also awarded to authors? Yes, you read that right. The esteemed awards also recognize poets who have “the most outstanding work in an ideal direction,” according to Nobel’s will.

This year, the Nobel Prize for Literature has been awarded to Louise Glück, an American poet. Glück is the 16th woman to receive the esteemed prize in its 117-year history, and the fourth woman to be awarded the Nobel Prize for Literature since 2010. (Read: Nominations for New Batch of National Artists Now Open)

According to the Swedish Academy who is in charge of the deliberations, Glück won the award due to “her unmistakable poetic voice that with austere beauty makes individual existence universal.”

Photo from Literary Hub

Beyond the Nobel Prize

Louise Glück was born in 1943 in New York and grew up in Long Island. She is considered one of America’s most talented contemporary poets and she has over 20 awards to prove it. Glück has previously been awarded the Pulitzer Prize in 1993 for The Wild Iris, and nominated once again in 2002 for The Seven Ages. She also won a National Book Award for Poetry in 2014—which she was nominated for thrice back in 1992, 1999, and 2006—for Faithful and Virtuous Night. (Read: 5 Influential Filipina Women Who Prove Hard Work Pays Off)

In addition, Glück has also been awarded the Bollingen Prize in 2001 and the National Humanities Medal in 2015. She also previously served as the United States Poet Laureate from 2003 to 2004, which made her the official poet of the United States. Admirably, the awarded poet achieved all these without a completed degree from Columbia University.

(Left) This file photo taken on Nov. 19, 2014, shows Louise Gluck attending the 2014 National Book Awards in New York City. (Right) Books by Louise Gluck are displayed during the announcement of the 2020 Nobel Prize in Literature, in Stockholm, Oct. 8, 2020. (Photos from AFP Photo / Daily Sabah)

Works by Louise Glück

To date, the Glück has 12 poetry books to her name, of which some have won awards in various years. The American poet is known for tackling childhood and family life, emotions, and agony of the self in her works which many of her readers relate to. She also takes inspiration from Greek and Roman Mythology, mostly focusing on characters who have been betrayed.

Because of the inspirations for her work, some readers call Glück’s poetry “bleak” and “dark,” but it is what gets the attention of people. The “bleak and dark” poetry of hers resonates with readers and keeps them wanting more.

You can see a list of her works here.

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