Friday, October 9, 2020

Nobelist Louise Glück’s poetry offers fierce beauty


                                                Hydra and Kali, by Damien Hirst

     You know how they give out the Nobel Prize in literature and it always seems to be some Icelandic novelist you never heard of? And you think, “Oh, I must pick up one of his books”? Then you never do.
      At least that’s my us
ual reaction. But not this year. Thursday it was announced the 2020 honor goes to Louise Glück, “for her unmistakable poetic voice that with austere beauty makes individual existence universal.” 
     My reaction, “Wow! Louise Glück rocks!”   
     I’ve read all of Glück’s poetry, some poems many times. Sometimes in public, from a stage. I’ve not only talked with her on the phone but bargained with her and, ultimately, paid her money for her poems.      
     Where to begin? Something utterly ordinary, like the setting of a Glück poem — a room, with a table, a chair — only in this case, a newspaper, where lots of books arrive daily unsolicited. Unread books piled on tables, to be disposed of at “book sales,” where the staff snaps them up for two dollars each, the money going to charity.
     I see this fat book and am drawn — wait for it — by the pretty dark orange stripe running across the bottom and the blurry photograph of Saturn — I love dark orange! I love Saturn! The title, “Louise Glück: Poems 1962-2012” means nothing. She was poet laureate of the United States, yes, but who keeps track of those?

To continue reading, click here. 


  1. Tempted to say,"Thanks for reading this so I don't have to." But in fact the poems seem like something I might like and I wish I'd been around for the $2 deal; Amazon wants $33 for the '62 to '02 book and $700 and something for an older book that's out of print. Don't know if it's the Nobel or Neil writing about her that's priced her books out of my reach. There's always the library of course.


  2. Hit me right in the heart today. Thank you


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