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Louise Glück, Nobel-Winning Poet Who Explored Trauma and Loss, Dies at 80

Louise Glück, an American poet whose searing, deeply personal work, often filtered through themes of classical mythology, religion and the natural world, won her practically every honor available, including the Pulitzer Prize, the National Book Award and, in 2020, the Nobel Prize for Literature, died on Friday. She was 80.

Her death was confirmed by Jonathan Galassi, her editor at Farrar, Straus & Giroux, The Associated Press said. No other details were provided.

Ms. Glück was widely considered among the country’s greatest living poets, long before she won the Nobel Prize. Though she began publishing in the 1960s and received some acclaim in the ’70s, she cemented her reputation in the 1980s and early ’90s with a string of books, including “Triumph of Achilles” (1985), which won the National Book Critics Circle Award; “Ararat” (1990); and “The Wild Iris” (1992), which won the Pulitzer Prize.

Her work was both deeply personal — “Ararat,” for example, drew on the pain she experienced at the death of her father — and broadly accessible, both to critics, who praised her clarity and precise lyricism, and the reading public. She served as the U.S. poet laureate from 2003 to 2004.

Her early work, especially her debut, “Firstborn” (1968), is deeply indebted to the so-called confessional poets who dominated the scene of the 1950s and ’60s, like John Berryman, Robert Lowell and Sylvia Plath.

But even as Ms. Glück (pronounced “Glick”) retained an autobiographical thread through her work, there is nothing solipsistic in her work, especially that of the 1980s, even as she explored intimate themes of trauma and heartbreak.

In awarding her its prize for literature, the first American poet to win it since T.S. Eliot in 1948, the Nobel committee praised her “unmistakable poetic voice that with austere beauty makes individual existence universal.”

A full obituary will appear soon.

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