Thursday, November 20, 2014

Louise Gluck Wins 2014 National Book Award

The National Book Award Foundation announces Louise Gluck as the winner of the 2014 prize for poetry, for the book Faithful and Virtuous Night (Farrar, Straus and Giroux). Gluck's lines have spare intensity, fused with narrative momentum. In her 2006 book Averno, she works with the Persephone myth to deconstruct patriarchal confinement in the poem “A Myth of Devotion,” which begins: 
When Hades decided he loved this girl
he built for her a duplicate of earth,
everything the same, down to the meadow,
but with a bed added. . . .        (See http://www.poets.org/poetsorg/poem/myth-devotion
 )
Gluck weaves the story within her own meditations on the isolating process of a controlling lover. The connection to the mythic level adds power to her narrative, raising the individual complaint to larger questions of human isolation within an enigmatic cosmos. In an interview with Sandra Lin, Gluck says this about Faithful and Virtuous Night:
 “What distinguishes this book, to me, is the absence of struggle, which has been replaced not by resignation, but rather by a kind of strange ecstasy. It may be no other reader will feel this. Old age, particularly before it produces any spectacular deterioration, is very different from the fear of death, which has been my subject, and battleground, since I began writing in my early childhood.” Interview by Sandra Lim      
Louise Gl├╝ck was born in New York City on April 22, 1943, and grew up on Long Island. She is a writer-in-residence at Yale University. She is the author of fifteen collections of poetry, over almost fifty years. Her book of essays about poetry writing, Proofs and Theories: Essays on Poetry (Ecco Press, 1994), which won the PEN/Martha Albrand Award for Nonfiction. Her many awards, besides the 2014 National Book Award for Poetry, include the Pulitzer Prize, the National Book Critics Circle Award, the Bollingen Prize, the Los Angeles Times Book Prize, and the Wallace Stevens Award from the Academy of American Poets. She lives in Cambridge, Massachusetts.


Selected Bibiography: Faithful and Virtuous Night (Farrar, Straus and Giroux, 2014); Poems: 1962-2012 (Farrar, Straus, and Giroux, 2013); A Village Life (Farrar, Straus, and Giroux, 2009); Averno (Farrar, Straus, and Giroux, 2006)
The Seven Ages (Ecco Press, 2001); Vita Nova (Ecco Press, 1999); Meadowlands (Ecco Press, 1996); The First Four Books of Poems (Ecco Press, 1995); The Wild Iris (Ecco Press, 1992); Ararat (Ecco Press, 1990); The Triumph of Achilles (Ecco Press, 1985); Descending Figure (Ecco Press, 1980); The Garden (Antaeus, 1976); The House on Marshland (Ecco Press, 1975); Firstborn (New American Library, 1968)