American poet Louise Glück wins Nobel for literature
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The Nobel Committee announced Thursday that American poet Louise Glück has won its 2020 prize for literature.

The committee, which announced the award in Stockholm on Thursday, hailed Glück for her “unmistakable poetic voice that with austere beauty makes individual existence universal,” The New York Times reported.

Glück, who has published 14 collections, has won the National Book Award, the Pulitzer Prize and numerous other awards for her work. She was the U.S. poet laureate from 2003 to 2004.


“Louise Glück’s voice is unmistakable,” committee chair Anders Olsson said at the announcement Thursday. “It is candid and uncompromising, and it signals this poet wants to be understood.”

Glück’s poetry frequently invokes themes such as grief, loss and trauma. She is the first female poet to win the prize since Wislawa Szymborska in 1996 and the first American to win since Bob Dylan in 2016.

Her victory comes the year after the committee provoked controversy by awarding the honor to the Austrian author Peter Handke, who eulogized the late Serbian leader and convicted war criminal Slobodan Milošević.

The year before that, the committee postponed awarding its 2018 prize after Jean-Claude Arnault, a committee member’s husband, was the subject of allegations of sexual misconduct and leaking information about the selection process to bookies.

“The Swedish Academy knows they can’t afford another scandal,” Bjorn Wiman, the culture editor of the Swedish newspaper Dagens Nyheter, told The New York Times before the winner was announced.

However, journalist and committee adviser Rebecka Karde denied the notion that avoiding controversy played any part in the decision.

“We haven’t focused on making a ‘safe’ pick or discussed the choice in such terms,” Karde said. “It’s all about the quality of the output of the writer who gets it.”