By Louis Gluck
This is the moment when you see again
the red berries of the mountain ash
and in the dark sky
the birds’ night migrations.
It grieves me to think
the dead won’t see them—
these things we depend on,
What will the soul do for solace then?
I tell myself maybe it won’t need
these pleasures anymore;
maybe just not being is simply enough,
hard as that is to imagine.
Louise Glück is the first American woman to win the Nobel prize for literature in 27 years. While awarding the Nobel prize, the Nobel Committee cited for “her unmistakable poetic voice that with austere beauty makes individual existence universal”. The 77-year-old Glück is the 16th woman to win the Nobel, and the first American woman since Toni Morrison took the prize in 1993.
Anders Olsson, the chair of the Nobel prize committee, hailed Glück’s “candid and uncompromising” voice, which is “full of humour and biting wit”. “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,” Mr Olsson said. “But even if Glück would never deny the significance of the autobiographical background, she is not to be regarded as a confessional poet.”
Gluck’s collections of poetry include Faithful and Virtuous Night, the Pulitzer-winning The Wild Iris, and Averno.
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