Poet Louise Glück has won the Nobel Prize in Literature, becoming the second American writer to receive the honor in five years.
Glück, the former U.S. poet laureate and past winner of the Pulitzer Prize, National Book Award, and National Book Critics Circle Award, was cited by the Swedish Academy for “her unmistakable poetic voice that with austere beauty makes individual existence universal.”
Glück is the first American to take home the prize since Bob Dylan’s shock victory in 2016. A New York City native, she published her first book in 1968, and has released more than a dozen since then. She’s also the author of two collections of essays, including the 2017 book American Originality. In a review, a critic for Kirkus wrote of the book, “A love of poetry—of the poet’s life—infuses these essays and brings a glow to the theoretical and a bright flame to the personal.”
The Twitter account for the Nobel Prizes posted a brief conversation with Glück, who at first was reluctant to talk. When asked if she minded the phone call being recorded, she said, in a weary voice, “I don’t mind, but I really have to have some coffee...right now.”
"It's too new … it's too early here."— The Nobel Prize (@NobelPrize) October 8, 2020
Take a listen to this brief conversation with new Literature Laureate Louise Glück, recorded shortly after the announcement of her #NobelPrize: pic.twitter.com/g6qg4lf84r
Asked what her victory meant to her, she said, “I have no idea. My first thought was, I won’t have any friends, because most of my friends are writers, but then I thought, no, that won’t happen. It’s too new, you know? I don’t know, really, what it means. It’s a great honor.”
Michael Schaub is a Texas-based journalist and regular contributor to NPR.