Woodmere native and Hewlett High School alumna, class of 1961, Louise Glück was awarded the 2020 Nobel Prize in Literature. Famous for her poetry collections, the Yale University writer-in-residence adjunct professor is also a Pulitzer Prize winner for “The Wild Iris” in 1993.
Glück, 77, named the country’s 12th Poet Laureate in 2003 she served in that esteemed role through 2010. Her writing awards also include the National Humanities Medal, National Book Award, National Book Critics Circle Award, the Bollingen Prize, and several other honors.
Her work is considered autobiographical and the Swedish Academy that oversees the Nobel award said Glück earned the prestigious prize “for her unmistakable poetic voice that with austere beauty makes individual existence universal.” She is the 16th woman to win the Literature award. Glück has also been a visiting faculty member at several institutions including Boston University, the renowned Iowa Writers Workshop and Stanford. University. She was inducted into the Hewlett-Woodmere Alumni Association’s Hall of Fame in 1998.
Early life was not easy for Glück. She suffered from anorexia nervosa in high school. It is an eating disorder typified by an unusually low body weight, severe dread of gaining weight and a distorted view of weight. After undergoing treatment she overcame the illness.
Binnie Stein, a Woodmere resident whose older siblings knew Glück, is well aware of the talent the elder Five Towns native possessed. “I wasn’t surprised when heard she won the Nobel prize,” Stein said. “She was always an amazing writer, always advanced. She really did very well for herself with her poetry and prose.”