Poetry News

Louise Glück Wins 2014 National Book Award in Poetry

By Harriet Staff

Gluck-Louise

The winners are in! It was a tight race across the board in the poetry category, what with five exceptional finalists, but this year's National Book Award goes to Louise Glück for Faithful and Virtuous Night. In an interview at the National Book Foundation site, Sandra Lim talks to Glück about her winning book. About the title, Glück says:

I don’t know that there existed, before this book, a connection between poetry and prose in my work, unless you count the possible influence on my poems of the essays I began, some decades ago, to write intermittently. I felt, when I worked in that form, that some leftover elasticity seeped into my rather songlike intense poems, introducing sensations of space and variety. Also, I like to read prose—novels and biographies, mainly, but also pill bottles and cereal boxes. Prose absorbs me; toward poems my reactions are too fevered. Envious, sometimes; sometimes enraged or appalled. Painful sensations, though the envy does, in the end, mutate into homage, which in turn becomes inspiration.

As I was close to the end of Faithful and Virtuous Night, I was one last time stymied. Kathryn Davis suggested I read Kafka’s short stories again. What followed was one of the most exhilarating experiences of my writing life. Two weeks of a brand new toy! And then the book was done.

Congratulations to Louise Glück and to the finalists: Fanny Howe, Maureen N. McLane, Fred Moten, and Claudia Rankine. If you're craving more conversations with Glück, head here to read a recent interview.

Originally Published: November 20th, 2014