Thursday, October 6, 2011

Swedish Poet wins Nobel Literature Prize

Tomas Transtomer was announced this morning as the winner of the 2011 Nobel Prize for Literature “because, through his condensed, translucent images, he gives us fresh access to reality”.

Transtomer is the author of 13 volumes of poetry as well as numerous translations including that of his good friend and fellow poet, Robert Bly. His own work has been translated into more than 50 languages.

Born in Stockholm in 1931 Transtomer studied psychology and poetry in school and as well as his writings he was also a noted psychologist.

The following poem is from Transtomer's oeuvre and was translated by Bly.


Men in overalls the same color as earth rise from a ditch.
It's a transitional place, in stalemate, neither country nor city.
Construction cranes on the horizon want to take the big leap,
   but the clocks are against it.
Concrete piping scattered around laps at the light with cold tongues.
Auto-body shops occupy old barns.
Stones throw shadows as sharp as objects on the moon surface.
And these sites keep on getting bigger
like the land bought with Judas' silver: "a potter's field for
   burying strangers."

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