Louis Glück; the winner of the 2020 Nobel Prize for literature

Louis Gluck

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The academy surprised us all with an unexpected win for American poet, Louis Glück. After many years of beautiful poetry collections, many came to know the poet and her life story.

She is one of America’s famous poets and a passionate one too. Her poetry collections deal with the challenges of growing old and those of family life. She uses a minimalistic voice and an “unmiserable” tone in her works, which sets her apart from others. 


Born in 1943, New York, she grew up on Long Island. From a young age she loved reading and writing poetry. Filled with so much passion and creativity, she wrote her first verses when she was only 5 and later on decided that poetry is what she wants to do. 

By attending poetry workshops and the Sarah Lawrence College, later Columbia University, she continued to grow and became even more curious in the world of poetry. “Firstborn” was her first collection, published in 1968. 

As a child, her parents used to read her Greek Mythology for her bedtime stories. As a result, in much of her work she uses inspiration from those figures. For example in “Meadowlands”, she combines the figures of Odysseus and Penelope and in “Averno” she used the myth of Persephone. 

The tone and theme she uses in her poetry are unique; her verses reflect her preoccupation with betrayal, isolation, family issues, death and hard relationships. Combining such themes that most can relate to with mythological figures, allows her poetry to be enjoyed by everyone. 

Poetry by Nobel laureate Louise Glück ′simple only on the surface′ | Books | DW | 09.10.2020

Since Wislawa Szymborska, Louis Glück is the first female poet to be awarded with the Nobel Prize for Literature. Many in the literature world celebrated the selection of Louis as a proper choice made based solely on literary merits. Filled with scandal and controversy, this selection marks a reset for the academy’s literature award. 

Glück herself thought that her “chances were very poor, -because I treasure my daily life and friendships, and I didn’t want my friendships complicated, and I didn’t want my daily life sacrifices. But there’s also a kind of covetousness. You want your work honored. Everyone does.” Said Louis in an interview regarding her award. 

Regardless, we can all appreciate the amazing works of this poet and hope that more poets like her get recognized for their originality and creativity.

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