Swedish Poet Tomas Tranströmer Wins 2011 Nobel Prize For Literature

October 6, 2011

Photo © Ulla Montan. Courtesy: Albert Bonniers Förlag

The Nobel Prize in Literature 2011 was awarded today to Tomas Tranströmer “because, through his condensed, translucent images, he gives us fresh access to reality”. The Prize (including $1.45 million) is awarded by The Swedish Academy which hasn’t selected a Swede in 30 years. Some say there will be criticism of the Academy because Europeans have won the award 8 out of the last 11 years and that more winners should come from outside Europe.

From Poets.org: “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 include The Great Enigma: New Collected Poems (New Directions, 2003), The Half-Finished Heaven (2001); New Collected Poems (1997); For the Living and the Dead (1995); 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).

Tranströmer’s 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.

He has read at many American universities, often with poet and friend Robert Bly. Tranströmer is a respected psychologist, and has worked at a juvenile prison, and with the disabled, convicts, and drug addicts. He lives with his wife Monica in Vasteras, west of Stockholm.”