WASHINGTON – American poet Louise Gluck, winner of the Nobel and Pulitzer prizes for her distinctively austere writing, has died, a Yale University spokeswoman told AFP on Friday.
The New York native, 80, most recently taught at Yale as a poetry professor.
She died of cancer, The New York Times reported, citing friend and former Yale colleague Richard Deming, on Friday at her home in Cambridge, Massachusetts.
Gluck was the 2020 Nobel laureate in literature, the 16th woman to win the award. Her idols included other winners of the same prize, such as William Butler Yeats (1923) and T.S. Eliot (1948).
Like theirs, the austerity of her poetry was a source of strength: “The unsaid, for me, exerts great power,” she wrote in a collection of essays on poetry, “Proofs and Theories.”
Gluck’s work was informed by subjects such as nature’s simple beauty and a child’s experience of the world, coupled with the bold storylines of mythology.
Her 2020 Nobel prize honored her for “her unmistakable poetic voice that with austere beauty makes individual existence universal.”
The winner of a Pulitzer Prize in 1993 for her collection “The Wild Iris,” Gluck became a professor despite never finishing college herself.
She grew up in Long Island, New York, the descendant on her father’s side of Hungarian Jews who emigrated in the early 20th century.
She was also the winner of a National Book Award, and served as the US Poet Laureate from 2003 to 2004.