American poet Louise Gluck passes away at the age of 80

Louise Gluck, a celebrated poet who was awarded the Nobel Prize in Literature in 2020, has passed away at the age of 80, as confirmed by her editor, Reuters reported citing US media reports.

The Swedish Academy, responsible for Nobel Prize selection, praised Louise Gluck’s poetry for its unreserved examination of family and childhood using a distinct and austere beauty. Her poems were typically concise, often spanning less than a single page.

In drawing parallels with other writers, the Academy noted that Louise Gluck bore similarities to the 19th-century American poet Emily Dickinson in her “severity and unwillingness to accept simple tenets of faith.”

During her lifetime, Louise Gluck authored a total of 12 poetry collections along with numerous essay volumes.

Hailing from New York, she achieved the distinction of being the 16th woman to be awarded the Nobel Prize in Literature, considered the most prestigious accolade in the literary realm.

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Reuters reported that the cause of her death was not disclosed by Jonathan Galassi, Gluck’s editor at Farrar, Straus & Giroux, who confirmed her death for media outlets. 

Initially, as an English professor at Yale University, Louise Gluck garnered significant recognition when her collection of poems titled “Firstborn” was published in 1968. She subsequently established herself as one of the most renowned poets and essayists in modern American literature.

In 1993, Gluck received a Pulitzer Prize for her poetry compilation “The Wild Iris,” with the eponymous poem delving into themes of suffering and richly weaving in natural imagery.

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Though Louise Gluck incorporated her personal experiences into her poetry, she also delved into universal themes that struck a chord with readers both in the United States and around the world.

Despite going through two divorces and battling anorexia during her youth, her work resonated with a broad audience. She held the position of Poet Laureate of the United States during 2003-04 and was honored with the National Humanities Medal by President Barack Obama in 2016, Reuters noted.

(With inputs from Reuters)

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Updated: 14 Oct 2023, 06:28 AM IST