Louise Gluck Got the Nobel Prize? You’re Kidding, Right?

October 11, 2020

When I heard Louise Gluck got the Nobel Prize, I sighed; there goes any chance of someone winning it who deserves it far more than she does. For example, Rae Armantrout. Amy Gerstler. Juan Felipe Herrera, Lyn Hejinian, Dorianne Laux, Alicia Ostriker, David St. John.

On the other hand, one can easily imagine Jorie Graham uttering an expletive upon hearing the news that Gluck won. The odds against her winning sometime in the next ten to 12 years just tripled. Maybe quadrupled. Not that Graham deserves it any more than Gluck.

James Tate was born the same year that Gluck was born. So was Sam Shepard. You’re telling me that if they were still alive, Gluck would still get the award. Larry Levis was born a few years after Gluck, and if he were still alive, the total heft of his work would be astonishing. Certainly worth of making the short list.

But then Derek Walcott got the award and I admire his work even less than the average detractor of Bob Dylan. There’s no figuring it out.

When this kind of announcement is made, I like to call upon the larger context of international cultural work to keep things in perspective and not get too distraught. Fortunately, such a context proved to be immediately available: my friend Paul Vangelisti by chance was working on a project that enabled him to share this list of contributors to INVISIBLE CITY with me the other day. John McBride, it should be mentioned, was Paul’s co-editor. For any young poet looking for a reading list that is different from the usual MFA literary real estate template, you need look no further. Get thee to a library.

“Why go on, without such a family.” — Holly Prado

Invisible City (1971-1982)

French

Antonin Artaud
Daniel Biga
Charles Baudelaire
Roland Barthes
Jean Baudrillard
Lucien Blaga
Julien Blaine
Alain Bosquet
Rene Char
Paul Eluard
Jean Follain
Guillevic
Rene Daumal
Mohammed Dib
Rene Depestre
Robert Desnos
Edmund Jabbes
Jules Laforgue
Stephane Mallarme
Henri Michaux
Jacques Roubaud
Jean Senac
Jules Supervielle
Tristan Tzara

German

Walter Benjamin
Gerlad Bisinger
Johannes Bobrowski
Bertolt Brecht
Paul Celan
Gunter Eich
Hans Magnus Enzenberger
Gunter Bruno Fuchs
Sarah Kirsch
Karl Krolow
Reiner Kunze
Christoph Meckel
Ernst Meister
Heiner Muller
Novalis
Christa Reinig
Rainer Maria Rilke
Helmut Maria Soik

Italian

Nanni Ballestrini
Dino Campana
Christina Campo
Corrado Costa
Galvano Della Volpe
Franco Fortini
Milli Graffi
Antonio Gramsci
Margherita Guidacci
Giulia Niccolai
Elio Pagliarani
Aldo Palazzeschi
Cesare Pavese
Pier Paolo Pasolini
Antonio Porta
Umberto Saba
Vittorio Sereni
Adriano Spatola
Cesare Vivaldi

Spanish

Rafael Alberti
Vicente Aleixandre
Reuben Astudillo
Carlos Busono
Ernesto Cardenal
Luis Cernuda
Julio Cortazar
Nicholas Guillen
Miguel Hernandez
Vicente Huidobro
Federico Garcia Lorca
Antonio Machado
Jose de Jesus Martinez
Pablo Neruda
Blas de Otero
Octavio Paz
Aldo Pellegrini
Roberto Retamar
Carlos de Rokha
Cesar Vallejo

Arabic

Adonis
Ait Djafer
Fayad Jamis

Dutch

Gerrit Achterberg
Paul ten Hoppen
Pierre Kemp
Jan Slauerhoff
Ellen Warmond

Greek

Yannis Ritsos
Ersi Sotiropoulou

Hungarian

Attila Jozsef
Miklos Radnoti

Polish

Miron Bialoszewski
Edward Balcerzan
Stanislaw Baranczak
Stanislaw Grochowiak
Jerzy Harasymowicz
Zbigniew Herbert
Irene Iredynski
Tymoteuz Karpowicz
Julian Kornhauser
Czeslaw Kuriata
Ewa Lipska
Tadeusz Nowak
Halina Poswiatowska
Tadeusz Rozewicz
Edward Stachura
Wislawa Szymborska
Rafal Wojaczek

Portuguese

Manuel Bandeira
Fernando Pessoa

Russian

Vladimir Bachev
Valery Bryuosov
Eugene Evtouchenko
Velemir Khlebnikov

English

Tom Ahern
Bruce Andrews
John Ashbery
Amiri Baraka
Charles Bernstein
Charles Bukowski
Alvaro Cardona-Hine
Bob Cobbing
Robert Crosson
Victor Hernandez Cruz
Ray DiPalma
Larry Eigner
Clayton Eshelman
Brion Gysin
Leland Hickman
Jack Hirschman
Collette Inez
Thomas Johnson
Yusef Komunyakaa
Marina LaPalma
Samuel Menashe
Bill Mohr
Stuart Z. Perkoff
Bern Porter
Jed Rasula
Tom Raworth
Kenneth Rexroth
Leslie Scalapino
Ntozake Shange
Archie Shepp
Gilbert Sorrentino
Jack Spicer
John Thomas
Rosmarie Waldrop
C.D. Wright
John Yau