2011 Nobel Prize for Literature
Contemporary Swedish poet Tomas Tranströmer is the 2011 Nobel Prize-winner for Literature
On April 15, 1931, Tomas Tranströmer was born in Stockholm, Sweden. He attended the University of Stockholm, where he studied psychology and poetry.
One of Sweden's most important poets, Tranströmer has sold thousands of volumes in his native country, and his work has been translated into more than fifty languages. His books of poetry in English include The Sorrow Gondola (Green Integer, 2010); New Collected Poems, edited by Robin Fulton (Bloodaxe Books, 1998, 2011); The Great Enigma: New Collected Poems, edited by Robin Fulton (New Directions, 2003); The Half-Finished Heaven, translated by Robert Bly (Graywolf, 2001); For the Living and the Dead (1995); Selected Poems, edited by Robert Hass (Ecco, 1987) Baltics (1974); Paths (1973); Windows and Stones (1972), an International Poetry Forum Selection and a runner-up for the National Book Award for translation; The Half-Finished Sky (1962); and Seventeen Poems (1954).
His work has gradually shifted from the traditional and ambitious nature poetry written in his early twenties toward a darker, personal, and more open verse. His work barrels into the void, striving to understand and grapple with the unknowable, searching for transcendence.
"I am the place / where creation is working itself out," he declares in his poem "The Outpost," about which he wrote "This kind of religious idea recurs here and there in my poems of late, that I see a kind of meaning in being present, in using reality, in experiencing it, in making something of it."
Tranströmer is the recipient of the 2011 Nobel Prize for Literature. His other honors and awards include the Aftonbladets Literary Prize, the Bonnier Award for Poetry, the Neustadt International Prize for Literature, the Oevralids Prize, the Petrach Prize in Germany, and the Swedish Award from International Poetry Forum. ~Poets.org
The Great Enigma: New Collected Poems
In day's first hours consciousness can grasp the worldas the hand grips a
sun-warmed stone.Translated into fifty languages, the poetry of Tomas
Transtromer has had a profound influence around the world, an influence
that has steadily grown and has now attained a prominence comparable to
that of Pablo Neruda's during his lifetime. But if Neruda is blazing
fire, Transtromer is expanding ice. The Great Enigma: New Collected
Poems gathers all the poems Tomas Transtromer has published, from his
distinctive first collection in 1954, 17 Poems, through his epic poem
Baltics ("my most consistent attempt to write music"), and The Sad
Gondola, published six years after he suffered a debilitating stroke in
1990 ("I am carried in my shadow / like a violin / in its black case."),
to his most recent slim book, The Great Enigma, published in Sweden in
2004. Also included is his prose-memoir Memories Look at Me, containing
keys into his intensely spiritual, metaphysical poetry (like the brief
passage of insect collecting on Runmaro Island when he was a teenager).
Firmly rooted in the natural world, his work falls between dream and
dream; it probes "the great unsolved love" with the opening up, through
subtle modulations, of "concrete words."
The Half-finished Heaven: The Best Poems of Tomas Tranströmer, translated by Robert Bly
A longtime friend and confidant of Tranströmer's, as well as one of his first translators, Robert Bly has carefully chosen and translated what he considers the finest of Tranströmer's poems.
New Collected Poems
An updated edition of his Collected Poems (1988), this volume takes readers on a wonderful journey through Tranströmer's forty-year writing career. Included are the poems from his most recent collections, For the Living and the Dead and the Sorrow Gondola (Dedalus/Dufour), which included the first new poems to be written and published after his recent devastating stroke. New Collected Poems also includes "Memories Look at Me", his prose memoir. Transtromer's early work drew on the aesthetic traditions of Swedish nature poetry, while his later work has become more personal, more open and relaxed. In 1990 Tomas Transtromer was awarded the Neustadt International Prize for Literature.
The Sorrow Gondola
The great Swedish poet Tomas Tranströmer's was the first collection of poems written after his stroke in 1990, translated by Michael McGriff.
Selected Poems: 1954-1986
Winner of many prestigious awards, including the Bonner Award for Poetry, Germany's Petrarch Prize, and the Neustadt International Prize for Literature, Tomas Tranströmer captures the mood of an era which is at once lonely and threatening. Few poets are capable of relating basic truths about the human condition in troubled times with such quiet grace and figurative skill. This volume vitally represents the immense talent and insight of one of the world's finest poets.