“Like many great poets, she is always reforming herself,” said Jonathan Galassi, president of Farrar, Straus & Giroux, who has edited Glück since 2006. “Once she finished something, it’s sort of dead to her, and she has to start over again.”
This summer, Glück finished work on a new poetry collection, titled “Winter Recipes From the Collective,” which explores the indignities and the surreal comedy of aging and mortality, and will be released by FSG next year.
Literary critics and fellow poets have long admired her intensely distilled language and her unflinching self-examination.
“Her poems are flash bulletins from her inner life, a region that she examines unsparingly,” the poet Dan Chiasson wrote in The New Yorker.
William Logan, in a 2009 Times review of “A Village Life,” called Glück “perhaps the most popular literary poet in America.” Her audience may not be as large as others’, he wrote, but “part of her cachet is that her poems are like secret messages for the initiated.”
Glück herself has expressed discomfort with the notion of her poetry as popular.
“When I’m told I have a large readership, I think, ‘Oh great, I’m going to turn out to be Longfellow: somebody easy to understand, easy to like, the kind of diluted experience available to many. And I don’t want to be Longfellow,” she said in a 2009 interview with American Poet, the journal of the Academy of American Poets.
Glück is the first female poet to be awarded the prize since Wislawa Szymborska, a Polish writer, in 1996. Other poets to have received the award include Seamus Heaney, the Northern Irish poet, who won in 1995. She is the first American to win since Bob Dylan in 2016.