Nature’s simple beauty and a child’s experience of the world, coupled with the bold storylines of mythology, inform the work that won this year’s Nobel literature prize for Louise Gluck, a pre-eminent voice in modern American poetry with a career spanning more than five decades.
The Nobel Academy cited Gluck “for her unmistakable poetic voice that with austere beauty makes individual existence universal.”
Her seminal work “Averno”, published in 2006, is a masterful collection centring on the myth of Persephone, the goddess of the underworld abducted by Hades, the god of death.
The Pulitzer prize-winning poet, 77, joins three other women in a decidedly feminine year for the Academy, which is closing in on its 2009 record of five female honorees.
Gluck is the 16th woman out of 177 Nobel literature laureates, which include two of her inspirations, William Butler Yeats (1923) and T.S. Eliot (1948).
Like theirs, the austerity