Louise Glück Wins $100,000 Wallace Stevens Award

by Staff

The Academy of American Poets announced on Tuesday that Louise Glück has been named the winner of the 2008 Wallace Stevens Award, which carries with it a prize of $100,000. The annual award honors a poet for "outstanding and proven mastery in the art of poetry."

Glück, whose most recent collection is Averno (Farrar, Straus and Giroux, 2006), has also received the Pulitzer Prize in poetry for The Wild Iris (Ecco, 1992), the National Book Critics Circle Award for The Triumph of Achilles (Ecco, 1985), the Bollingen Prize for Vita Nova (Ecco, 1999), and the Lannan Literary Award.

“Louise sometimes uses language so plain it can almost seem like someone is speaking to you spontaneously—but it's always intensely distinguished,” said poet Robert Pinsky, who, along with his fellow Academy chancellors, selected Glück for the award. “There's always a surprise in Louise's writing; in every turn, every sentence, every line, something goes somewhere a little different, or very different, from where you thought it would.”

The other current Academy chancellors are Frank Bidart, Victor Hernández Cruz, Rita Dove, Lyn Hejinian, Sharon Olds, Ron Padgett, Carl Phillips, Kay Ryan, Gary Snyder, Gerald Stern, Susan Stewart, Ellen Bryant Voigt, and C.K. Williams.

The Academy also honored Brigit Pegeen Kelly with the $25,000 Academy Fellowship, given annually to recognize "distinguished poetic achievement." Kelly's most recent collection is The Orchard (BOA Editions, 2004), which was a finalist for the National Book Critics Circle Award and the Pulitzer Prize.

Both Glück and Kelly will join other prominent poets in the Poets Forum, a series of readings, discussions, and other events focused on contemporary poetry held at various venues in New York City from November 6 to 8. More information about the events can be found on the Academy Web site.