Louise Glück is Awarded Nobel Prize in Literature

October 8, 2020

By Gabrielle Colangelo

The Nobel Prize in Literature was awarded on Thursday to Louise Glück, distinguished poet and Professor in Yale’s English Department, “for her unmistakable poetic voice that with austere beauty makes individual existence universal.” 

“In her poems, the self listens for what is left of its dreams and delusions, and nobody can be harder than she in confronting the illusions of the self,” said Anders Olsson, chair of the Nobel Committee. “But even if Glück would never deny the significance of the autobiographical background, she is not to be regarded as a confessional poet. Glück seeks the universal, and in this she takes inspiration from myths and classical motifs, present in most of her works. The voices of Dido, Persephone, and Eurydice — the abandoned, the punished, the betrayed — are masks for a self in transformation, as personal as it is universally valid.”

Glück is the author of twelve collections of poetry: Firstborn (1968), The House on Marshland (1975), Descending Figure (1980), The Triumph of Achilles (1985), Ararat (1990), The Wild Iris (1992), Meadowlands (1997), Vita Nova (1999), The Seven Ages (2001), Averno (2006), A Village Life (2006), and Faithful and Virtuous Night (2014). Vita Nova earned Glück Yale’s Bollingen Prize for Poetry, awarded every two years for the best volume of poetry published in those years or for a poet’s lifetime achievement in their art.

Glück is a beloved professor of poetry in Yale’s Creative Writing program. She teaches classes at both the introductory and advanced levels, and supervises independent projects. She is known for her discerning and forthright commentary, generously helping many a student discover their own strongest voice. 

At Yale, in addition to teaching, Glück has brought young poets to the attention of wider audiences as the judge from 2003 to 2010 of the Yale Series of Younger Poets Prize, the oldest annual literary award in the United States.


For more information about Louise Glück, visit: Louise Gluck, Rosenkranz Writer-In-Residence, Yale Department of English. 

For more information about this year’s Nobel Prize in Literature, visit the New York Times (see also this interview with the poet) and the Yale News

For more information about Yale’s Bollingen Prize for Poetry, visit the Bollingen Prize Website.

For more information on Creative Writing at Yale, visit the English Department Website.   View a comprehensive list of Readings at Yale here


EXPLORE the Louise Glück papers, a collection consisting of correspondence, writings, notebooks, ephemera, photographs, and artwork documenting the life and work of poet Louise GlückCorrespondence spans Glück’s career and includes poets Steven Berg, Robert Pinsky, C. K. Williams, and others, as well as family correspondence. Writings include individual poems and drafts of collections including Ararat, The Wild Iris, Meadowlands, and Vita Nova. Writings of others include works by numerous writers including Steven Berg, Frank Bidart, Kathryn Davis, Robert Pinsky, Ellen Bryant Voigt, and C. K.Williams. Artwork includes oil paintings and watercolors by Louise Glück.

LISTEN to the 2002 Bollingen Prize Readings at Center Church, where Professor Glück reads alongside other Bollingen Prize winners, including John Ashbery, Robert Creeley, W.S. Merwin, and Mark Strand. 


Resources compiled by Emma Brodey Y’21 and Gabrielle Colangelo Y’21, Yale Collection of American Literature Student Research Assistants.