6 October 11 | Chad W. Post

And this year’s Nobel Prize in Literature goes to Tomas Transtromer.

From the “Guardian:”:

Praised by the judges for “his condensed translucent images” which give us “fresh access to reality”, Tranströmer’s surreal explorations of the inner world and its relation to the jagged landscape of his native country have been translated into 50 languages.

Born in Stockholm in 1931, Tranströmer studied at the University of Stockholm and worked as a psychologist at an institution for young offenders. His first collection of poetry, 17 Dikter (17 Poems, was published in 1954, while he was still at college. Collections including Hemligheter på vägen (1958) and Klangar och spår (1966) reflected on his travels in the Balkans, Spain and Africa, while the poems in Östersjöar (1974) examine the troubled history of the Baltic region through the conflict between sea and land.

He suffered a stroke in 1990 which affected his ability to talk, but has continued to write, with his collection Sorgegondolen going on to sell 30,000 copies on its pubilcation in 1996. At a recent appearance in London, his words were read by others, while the poet, who is a keen amateur musician, contributed by playing pieces specially composed for him to play on the piano with only his left hand.

Tranströmer has described his poems as “meeting places,” where dark and light, interior and exterior collide to give a sudden connection with the world, history or ourselves. According to the poet, “The language marches in step with the executioners. Therefore we must get a new language.”

Of course, seeing that Transtromer is Swedish, a lot of critics are going to get their hackles up, such as this line that opens the same Guardian article: “The Swedish Academy has responded to accusations of insularity over recent years by awarding the 2011 Nobel prize for literature to one of their own.” Snarky!

I don’t actually think this is very controversial at all, but others do . . .

Anyway, congrats to Transtormer and to New Directions, Green Integer, Graywolf, Ecco, and his other publishers. And speaking of ND, the podcast going up tomorrow is a special discussion about the Nobel Prize, with the first half recorded yesterday before the announcement, and the second half today. So Tom can share the excitement of the ND office . . .


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