Ask me who are the three best septuagenarian poets in the English language, and I will answer you, Bloom believing me, that probably all three have straight and very white hair, that all three are widely translated into our language, that all three are very clear references for the new ones. generations of poets around the world, and that, as a curious and definitive fact, all three have achieved literary glory writing about heartbreak.
American poet Louise Glück wins the 2020 Nobel Prize in Literature
There ‘The beauty of the husband’, by Anne Carson, a divorce in the form of a tango. Or ‘The Leap of the Deer’, by Sharon Olds, where fidelity is venerated “as if it were a compliment / instead of a mere drowsiness”. And of course, ‘Prairies’, by Louise Glück, that revision of Odysseus and Penelope, in which the lying voice of the narrator wonders if perhaps the true destiny of those characters was separation, because in the act of being alone love can also overflow.
It turns out that the overflowing love of Louise Glück has been celebrated this October 8, 2020 with one of the most famous awards with which a writer can be decorated. His wild and overflowing love, it must also be said, had previously been recognized with all the awards one can imagine on the Anglo-Saxon scene. Among others, the Pulitzer, the William Carlos Williams, the National Book Critics Circle, and a long list of scholarships, which led Glück to become an author both loved and hated in the poetic circles of the United States, since it is already known that the Poets —and here I emphasize the o of the male in its plural— can be the most envious beings on earth.
Of Louise Glück’s success as a poet, now reinforced by the Swedish Academy, it has been said that he is undeserved for his apparent kitsch, for his way of grafting an excessive amount of plants and flowers into the verses, as if instead writing poetry was caressing roses. His fascination with nature and the classic has also been said to be an easy gesture. That his voice is devoid of lyricism, because in its apparent simplicity what there is is absolute coldness.
Poets – and I insist on the o – do not usually like another poet to win more prizes than they do, especially if what he writes is based on a not very masculine tradition such as that of floral writing predictably inherited from a Sappho or a Hilda. Doolittle. The fact that Louise Glück has received so many attacks of this type, and that her candid style has been tried so many times, leads me to think that perhaps these readers have not been able to see beyond the obvious.
If Carson is celebrated with a narrative and an intelligence, and if Olds is admired for his foul-mouthed slyness, Glück might just seem like a flimsy little flower next to those two septuagenarians monsters, if it weren’t for the fact that this flower it also hides a sharp collection of thorns on its stem. Perhaps the best thorn of Glück, the most representative, is the one that beats in ‘The wild iris’, a collection of poems worthy of the Pulitzer and the first by the author to be translated into Spanish. Glück’s almost complete work —or at least his most representative collections of poems— can be found here in Pre-Textos. The editor, hours after the announcement of the award, revealed to the press that the last book he published in the spring of the American had not sold even two hundred copies.
Perhaps his luck will change from now on, and perhaps in that luck he will also find himself in the watchful eye that Glück needs. In her and in her books, the classic and the natural are reflected, yes, but also a different and very new look on motherhood and child bullying, on the family, on the role of women in history and myths, on the first-time infatuation, and on the sickness of writing above all things. «What wish do you think I asked for?» Asks a voice in ‘Praderas’: «I asked what I always ask for. I asked to write another poem », the poet replies.
In this way, he could assure that what unnerves and falls in love with equal parts of the writing of the American is its absolute lack of interest in the bombastic. He once declared it: “I write to speak to those whom I have listened to.” With that generosity so rare in poets – in those poets who seek to be the center of everything and not the wisp at the bottom of a landscape from which to listen to the world. With that generosity, he pointed out, Louise Glück writes to speak to those who have given her beauty, to all those rays that have given her warmth, and to all that music that has helped her compose her own rhythm, and with it, her dazzling thought . So it will be me, your silent reader, who on this day opts for grandstanding and tells you: I have faith. I have faith in wild love, in flimsy flowers, in Glück’s grace.