Poet awarded Nobel Prize in Literature has Hungarian-Jewish roots

American poet Louis Glück was recently awarded the Nobel Prize in Literature for her “candid and uncompromising” poetry.


American poet Louis Glück, recently awarded the Nobel Prize in Literature for her “candid and uncompromising” poetry, has Hungarian-Jeiwsh roots.

Glück is the first female poet to be awarded the prize since Wislawa Szmborkska, a Polish writer in 1996 and the first American since Bob Dylan in 2016.

Glück was born on April 22, 1943, in New York to parents Daniel Glück and Beatrice Glück (Grosby). Her paternal grandparents were Hungarian Jews and emigrated to the United States. Glück’s father was the first to be born in the United States where he became a business man. From an early age, Glück was introduced to literature, especially Greek mythology and the story of Joan of Arc. She started becoming interested in poetry and writing poems as early as five-years-old

As a teenager, Glück suffered from anorexia nervosa and as a senior in high school started therapy. Instead of pursuing a degree in higher education after her graduation from George W. Hewlett Highschool she continued therapy for the next seven years. During this time she enrolled in poetry classes at Sarah Lawrence College and from 1963-65 she enrolled in poetry workshops at Columbia University’s School of General Studies.

After leaving Columbia without a degree ,Glück worked as a secretary while writing on the side. Her poetic focus is on trauma, family life and growing older. She was married in 1967 and by 1968 she was divorced and published her first collection of poems, Firstborn.

Glück has been in the spotlight before. In 1993 she won a Pulitzer Prize for “The Wild Iris”. The Pulitzer Prize is named after Joseph Pulitzer who was a Hungarian that emigrated to the United States. She was named United States Poet Laureate of the year in 2003 and won the National Book Award for Poetry in 2014 for “Faithful and Virtuous Night”.