Awards Blog

Louise Glück wins Nobel Prize for Literature 2020

9 October 2020
Nobel Prize for Literature 2020 - Louise Glück Book Cover Nobel Prize for Literature 2020 - Louise Glück
The Reading Desk
9 October 2020

Louise Glück was born in New York City in 1943 and attended Sarah Lawrence College and Columbia University. Considered by many to be one of America’s most talented contemporary poets, she is currently an adjunct professor and Rosenkranz Writer in Residence at Yale University.

Glück has won many major literary awards, including the Pulitzer Prize in 1993, National Humanities Medal, National Book Award in 2014, National Book Critics Circle Award, Bollingen Prize, and today, in October 2020, the Nobel Prize for Literature.

Louise Glück has published twelve collections of poetry and some volumes of essays on poetry. Glück won the Pulitzer Prize in 1993 for her collection The Wild Iris. Two poems from that collection are shown below.

The Wild Iris

At the end of my suffering
there was a door.

Hear me out: that which you call death
I remember.

Overhead, noises, branches of the pine shifting.
Then nothing. The weak sun
flickered over the dry surface.

It is terrible to survive
as consciousness
buried in the dark earth.

Then it was over: that which you fear, being
a soul and unable
to speak, ending abruptly, the stiff earth
bending a little. And what I took to be
birds darting in low shrubs.

You who do not remember
passage from the other world
I tell you I could speak again: whatever
returns from oblivion returns
to find a voice:

from the center of my life came
a great fountain, deep blue
shadows on azure seawater.


Do you know what I was, how I lived?  You know
what despair is; then
winter should have meaning for you.

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.

Peter Donnelly

Founder of The Reading Desk, supporting readers, authors, publishers and book industry. Top Reviewer on Amazon, Goodreads, and NetGalley

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