Poetry is celebrating. It is not usually a recurring reason to celebrate, but these days it is celebrating because one of its most prominent exponents has won the Nobel Prize for Literature.
Louise Glück, a New York poet and heir to the most genuine tradition of American poetry, has had to abandon the discretion and sobriety of her days to become the center of the spotlight and the media.
Once again, poetry is the protagonist of the front pages of newspapers and is the main subject of many readers’ conversations around the world.
The Swedish Academy of Letters has spoken: Louise Glück wins the Nobel “for her unmistakable poetic voice that with austere beauty universalizes individual existence.” A short phrase that exactly defines a vocation and a career.
It did not appear in the betting houses’ pools that each year predict the winners, nor in the favoritism of media and editorial contingencies, but neither did it surprise the poetry readers who had been recognizing for several decades the imprint of this poet in the contemporary letters.
And it is that Louise Glück was being recognized since the mid-1980s with the favor and fervor of her readers, with the most important literary awards in the United States and with the expansion of her work little by little to other languages and latitudes.
When she introduces herself, she repeats: “I’m Louise Glück. Glück is written with a ü with an umlaut, and the surname is of Hungarian origin. I teach and write poetry ”. Her friends recognize her as shy, but with a great sense of humor and a handling of irony in privacy.
The biographical files of his different books say that he was born in New York in 1943 and grew up on Long Island. He attended Sarah Lawrence College and Columbia University. She was the twelfth poet laureate of the United States between 2003 and 2004 and her book The Wild Lily was the winner of the prestigious Pulitzer Prize in 1993.
This award would later be joined by other recognitions such as the Bollingen Awards, that of the Academy of American Poets, various Guggenheim scholarships, the New Yorker magazine Poetry Book Award, the William Carlos Williams Award and the Wallace Stevens Award, among others.
In 2015, President Barack Obama decorated her with the National Humanities Medal. At that time his friend, fellow poet laureate Robert Hass, said: “His poetry is one of the most lyrical, pure and consummate that is written today.”
Glück has had to abandon the discretion and sobriety of his days to become the center of the spotlight and the media
Charles Simic stated that “the worse America is, the better its poetry.” This is confirmed by the Nobel Prize to Louise Glück, who reminds us of the vitality, the vigor of current American poetry and its impact on today’s culture.
Glück’s poetry extends, on the one hand, the most conversational tradition and, on the other, the most intimate and hermetic heritage, achieving a personal expression in which emotions create analogies and relationships with a world of readings of the classics and archetypal myths. of the West.
Perhaps that is why it can be said that this is a poetry that starts from the path that emerges from Emily Dickinson and that authors such as Marianne Moore, Elizabeth Bishop, Anne Sexton, Sylvia Plath, Adrianne Rich, Denise Levertov and, recently, Anne Carson continue.
Sharon Olds, Carolyn Forché, Natasha Trethewey and Tracy Smith. This is contrary to the other vitalist and epic line that starts from Walt Whitman and that celebrates the scene of the American city and life.
If that is a poetry of the streets and the hustle and bustle and that narrates the founding of a nation, the line that Glück inherits is that of returning home to name from the simplicity and intimacy the universal concerns of the human being.
That is why his poetry is characterized by technical precision, sensitivity and understanding of loneliness, family relationships, divorce and death with nods to the great classics of always whose myths are reworked with precision and clarity.
Its orality and conversational language allow the reader to enter in a direct way to a field and atmospheres where a universal matter is constructed from private life and home affairs. In this poetry there is a confinement and an exaltation. You return to that intimacy, to the interior garden in which the real affairs of day to day take place.
His father never fulfilled his dream of being a writer and his mother struggled to attend Wellesley College before college education was accepted for women.
In many ways, Louise fulfilled that frustrated destiny of her parents and, with the pain and injuries as a result of the death of an older sister and the absolute crisis due to her battle against anorexia and years of psychoanalysis, a poetic voice is consolidating. powerful and honest.
That anorexia that he suffered as a teenager allowed him to know in depth human ruin and through psychoanalysis he was able to translate a dream world into raw material for poetry. That state between sleep and wakefulness is an ideal place for poetic revelation.
Thus, science, mythology, Jewish traditions and biblical episodes are resources that allow us to give another face to human failure, the decline of societies and family tragedies.
His first books deal with detachments, separations, failed loves, dysfunctional families and existential despair, while in his later work the agony of the self and the skeptical gaze of the present and the future take center stage.
The result is the tension between the confessional, intimate, nervous poem and the verbal intensity, the conversation and the domestic. A breakfast or a discussion in the kitchen can be great topics if through them we all reflect ourselves as if poetry were a mirror broken into a thousand pieces where we try to reconstruct memory.
With The Triumph of Achilles (1985), his fifth published book, he achieved national recognition from critics, academia and the cultural circuits of his country. There he compares the life of his grandfather with that of Joseph in Egypt, as he does in Wild Iris (1992), in which he uses the voice of one of the Hebrew prophets to translate them into a modern sensibility.
Although each of his books is different, there are certain temporalities and tones that bring them closer together. Wild Iris is a wonder-filled and deeply lyrical book.
Likewise, Praderas is a book written at a time when a marriage was beginning to deteriorate and irreversibly fracture: “My life gave me materials that were devastating, and what I felt as an artist was an imperative to do comedy.
One of the horrors of divorce was that I kept thinking that it was going to take me decades to write my book, and it did take a while, because it was very clear to me that I had no desire to write a lacerating book on divorce. “