After a number of years of polarising the globe with its alternative for the Literature Nobel, the Swedish Academy gave the 2020 Prize to modern American poet Louise Glück “for her unmistakable poetic voice that with austere beauty makes individual existence universal”. But such is the state of the world, divided over race, caste, creed, class, that Ms. Glück’s first ideas on profitable was that she was astonished. Then, which Nobel winner isn’t? Her shock was directed elsewhere, “completely flabbergasted that they would choose a white American lyric poet,” she instructed The New York Times.
And but the 77-year-old Ms. Glück (pronounced Glick) is a celebrated poet in America. She has written 12 collections of poetry and essay volumes. Her work is usually in comparison with poets like Emily Dickinson and Sylvia Plath. She has gained all the highest awards, from the Pulitzer Prize in 1993 for The Wild Iris to the National Book Award in 2014 for Faithful and Virtuous Night, and was anointed Poet Laureate in 2003. Her poems are spare. She usually appears at life’s euphoria and struggles — love, loss, relationships, betrayal, dying — by the prism of the previous, particularly the Greek myths. Ms. Glück had a tough adolescence, usually “at war with my mom” as she has stated in interviews; struggled with anorexia, however even by the darkness she wished to write down. In ‘Persephone the Wanderer’ (Averno), she examines the mother-daughter relationship — “In the first version, Persephone/is taken from her mother/and the goddess of the earth/punishes the earth — this is consistent with what we know of human behaviour,/that human beings take profound satisfaction/in doing harm, particularly unconscious harm:/we may call this/negative creation.” Anders Olsson, chairman of the Nobel Committee, heard in her poetry, the voices of Dido, Persephone and Eurydice – the deserted, the punished, the betrayed. They, he famous, have been masks for a self in transformation, legitimate each personally and universally.
In her 2012 interview to the American Academy of Achievement, Ms. Glück stated she started writing from an early age and was moved by William Blake (particularly The Little Black Boy). Her first printed assortment was Firstborn (1968), which was acclaimed by critics. Talking concerning the course of, Ms. Glück stated she “feels alive” when she writes poetry. For her, writing is a type of “revenge against circumstance – bad luck, loss, pain…”
Witness to intimacy
Ms. Glück has one other vocation, explains Joanne Feit Diehl in her introduction to On Louise Glück: Change What you See. “She writes poems that bear witness to intimate occasions — subtle psychological moments captured by the austerity of her diction.” Like in ‘Parados’ (Poems 1962-2012): “I’ll tell you/ what I meant to be…/a device that listened…/Not inert: still./ A piece of wood. A stone….I was born to a vocation/To bear witness/To the great mysteries./Now that I have seen both/ birth and death, I know/to the dark nature these/ are proofs, not /mysteries…”
A trainer of English at Yale University, Ms. Glück has stated that from poet Stanley Kunitz, she learnt to subordinate her ego to the wants of the poem. Collections like The Triumph of Achilles (1985) and Ararat (1990), the place three traits which recur in her writing unite, have been talked about within the Nobel assertion. “The topic of family life; austere intelligence; and a refined sense of composition” discover echo within the poems, understandably endearing her to each readers and critics. Her new e-book, Winter Recipes from the Collective, is due for launch subsequent yr.
Erica McAlpine, affiliate professor of English at Britain’s Oxford University, instructed Reuters that the occasional “bleakness” of Ms. Glück’s voice speaks particularly properly to the “present moment”. For Ms. Glück, as she stated in her interview to NYT, “the hope is that if you live through it, there will be art on the other side”. There is an awakening after darkness, she seems to say in ‘Snowdrops’ (The Wild Iris): “I did not expect to survive,/earth suppressing me. I didn’t expect/to waken again, to feel/in damp earth my body/able to respond again, remembering/after so long how to open again/in the cold light/of earliest spring – /afraid, yes, but among you again/crying yes risk joy/in the raw wind of the new world.”
As the world battles a cussed pandemic, the Swedish Academy’s decide is probably a reminder that amid mind-numbing uncertainties, there may be artwork. And when there may be artwork, there may be hope.