Making ‘Individual Existence Universal’, Nobel Prize 2020 Winner Louise Glück Writes on Trauma and Loss

The prestigious Nobel Prize is given to those who have made remarkable contributions to the world in their field of work. Since it was started in 1901, in the honour of Alfred Nobel, a Swedish Chemist and inventor of dynamite, the prize was originally distributed in five categories, but also has an additional award in Economics now.

Famous personalities in the world of literature like Rabindranath Tagore, Pablo Neruda and Bob Dylan have received this award before. This year’s Nobel Prize in Literature has been awarded to American poet Louise Glück. According to the Nobel Prize organisation, she was conferred the prestigious award “for her unmistakable poetic voice that with austere beauty makes individual existence universal.”

The 77-year-old poet has earlier been awarded with the coveted Pulitzer Prize in 1993 for her 1992 poetry book, The Wild Iris. Born in the New York City of the United States of America, Louise has written extensively on the subjects of desire and trauma in her almost 52-year-long career.

Her poetry is said to talk about the inner lives of individuals — their pain, loss, separation and rejection in relationships — instead of the historical chaos that is going on outside.

She got her first collection of poems — Firstborn — published in 1968 when she was only 25 years old. So far, Louise has written 14 collections of poems. Her last poetry book was Faithful and Virtuous Night published in 2014.

Dwight Garner, the New York Times book critic, writing about the use of allusions in Louise’s poetry, said, “Even when she ostensibly writes about food, she is writing about 11 other things at the same moment.”

Writing about Louise’s poetic style, in 2012, American poet Dan Chiasson wrote in the New Yorker, “Glück is a poet of first-person forensics: her autobiography is dissected rather than expressed, almost as though the facts of her life belonged to someone else.”

Louise has acknowledged that she is inspired by the work of William Carlos Williams, a Puerto Rican-American poet and George Oppen — an American poet. While William was considered a revolutionary poet, George was an activist who rallied for workers’ rights.