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American poet Louise Gluck awarded 2020 Nobel literature prize

Stockholm: The Nobel Prize for literature was awarded to American poet Louise Gluck on Thursday for her unmistakable poetic voice that with austere beauty makes individual existence universal.

The prize was announced in Stockholm by Mats Malm, the permanent secretary of the Swedish Academy.

New York-born Gluck (77), who is a professor of English at Yale University, made her debut in 1968 with Firstborn, and was soon acclaimed as one of the most prominent poets in American contemporary literature, the Nobel Academy said.

Anders Olsson, chairman of the Nobel literature committee, said Gluck's 12 collections of poetry were characterized by striving for clarity.

They include Descending Figure, The Triumph of Achilles and Ararat. Olsson said her verses, which often draw on classical influences and examine family life, were marked by an "austere but also playful intelligence and a refined sense of composition.

Raised in a family with Hungarian Jewish origins, Gluck has spoken of how a teenage struggle with anorexia, and the therapy she received for it, influenced her incisive writing.

Louise Gluck's voice is unmistakable. It is candid and uncompromising, and it signals that this poet wants to be understood. But it is also voice full of humor and biting wit, Olsson said. This is a great resource when Gluck treats one of our great topics, radical change, where the leap forward is made from a deep sense of loss. The committee noted her 2006 collection Averno, calling it masterly and a visionary interpretation of the myth of Persephone's descent into hell in the captivity of Hades, the god of death.

Gluck is the recipient of many awards, including Guggenheim and National Endowment for the Arts fellowships, the American Academy of Arts and Letters Gold Medal in Poetry and the National Humanities Medal.

She won the Pulitzer Prize in 1993 for The Wild Iris and the National Book Award for Faithful and Virtuous Night in 2014. She was US poet laureate from 2003 to 2004.

In 2018 the award was postponed after sex abuse allegations rocked the Swedish Academy, the secretive body that chooses the winners, and sparked a mass exodus of members.After the academy revamped itself in a bid to regain the trust of the Nobel Foundation, two laureates were named last year, with the 2018 prize going to Poland's Olga Tokarczuk and the 2019 award to Austria's Peter Handke.

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