American poet and essayist Louise Gluck was awarded the 2020 Nobel Prize in Literature on Thursday, the Swedish Academy announced.
The Academy praised the Gluck for “her unmistakable poetic voice that with austere beauty makes individual existence universal.”
Born in 1943 in New York, Gluck lives in Cambridge, Mass., and is a professor of English at Yale University. She gained prominence with her debut work in 1968, Firstborn — and quickly was considered among the top poets in American contemporary literature.
Gluck has since published 12 collections of poetry and several books of essays on poetry, winning the Pulitzer Prize in 1993 and the National Book Award in 2014.
A strong theme of her austere poetry, critics say, is the need to connect personal experiences with universal truths that frequently revolve around childhood and family life and often link to classical myths and motifs.
Gluck’s readership grew in the 1980s and 1990s with collections such as The Triumph of Achilles and Ararat, in which she used a refined sense of composition and seemingly neutral tone to create uncompromising portraits of family life, which at times are brutally honest.
Her National Book Award six years ago was given for her latest collection, Faithful and Virtuous Night.
The Nobel Prize in Literature comes with a cash award of $1.12 million.
The Nobel Prize in Medicine was awarded Monday, the physics prize on Tuesday and the award for chemistry on Wednesday.
The winner of the Nobel Peace Prize will be named Friday and the prize for economic sciences will be awarded Monday.
Academy officials also said they will not stage the traditional awards ceremony for the winners in Stockholm in December, due to the COVID-19 pandemic. Instead, the event will be held virtually.