The Nobel Committee announced Thursday morning that this year’s Nobel Prize in literature has been awarded to celebrated American poet Louise Glück, citing “her unmistakable poetic voice that with austere beauty makes individual existence universal.” Glück won the Pulitzer Prize in 1993 for her collection The Wild Iris and served as poet laureate of the United States from 2003 to 2004. Her latest collection, Faithful and Virtuous Night, won the National Book Award in 2014.
Glück’s win follows several years of controversy for the literature prize since the Nobel Committee surprised the world with its selection of musician Bob Dylan in 2016. In 2018, the committee took the extraordinary step of delaying the prize after a variety of misconduct claims against a committee member’s husband, instead naming two winners in 2019—one of whom, Peter Handke, also attracted criticism.
In an interview with the Nobel’s Adam Smith (which Glück requested be kept short because it was “barely 7 o’clock” and she hadn’t yet had her coffee), the poet said that the announcement was too new for her to say what it means to her. “I mean it’s a great honor, and then of course the recipients I don’t admire, but then I think of the ones that I do, and some very recent,” she said. “I think, practically, I wanted to buy another house, a house in Vermont—I have a condo in Cambridge [Massachusetts]—and I thought, well, I can buy a house now.”
Below, you can listen to Glück read three of her poems, previously recorded for Slate, which published them in 1998, 2005, and 2006.
“A Myth of Innocence”
Read “A Myth of Innocence” here.