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Swedish Poet Tomas Transtromer wins Nobel Prize for Poetry

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Swedish Poet Tomas Transtromer wins Nobel Prize for Poetry

Post  Aslinn Dhan on October 6th 2011, 10:12 am

And I thought I would post a couple of his poems here for you enjoyment of all things Swedish....

Tomas Tranströmer

In 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 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).

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'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.


Further In

On the main road into the city
when the sun is low.
The traffic thickens, crawls.
It is a sluggish dragon glittering.
I am one of the dragon’s scales.
Suddenly the red sun is
right in the middle of the windscreen
streaming in.
I am transparent
and writing becomes visible
inside me
words in invisible ink
which appear
when the paper is held to the fire!
I know I must get far away
straight through the city and then
further until it is time to go out
and walk far in the forest.
Walk in the footprints of the badger.
It gets dark, difficult to see.
In there on the moss lie stones.
One of the stones is precious.
It can change everything
it can make the darkness shine.
It is a switch for the whole country.
Everything depends on it.
Look at it, touch it…

The Tree and the Sky

There’s a tree walking around in the rain,
it rushes past us in the pouring grey.
It has an errand. It gathers life
out of the rain like a blackbird in an orchard.

When the rain stops so does the tree.
There it is, quiet on clear nights
waiting as we do for the moment
when the snowflakes blossom in space.


Aslinn Dhan
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Re: Swedish Poet Tomas Transtromer wins Nobel Prize for Poetry

Post  Aslinn Dhan on October 6th 2011, 10:25 am

The traffic thickens, crawls.
It is a sluggish dragon glittering.
I am one of the dragon’s scales....

I am transparent
and writing becomes visible
inside me
words in invisible ink
which appear
when the paper is held to the fire!

It is almost as if Tomas describing the work...the crowded and ferocious place where it is hard to be creative...The world Dragon of inspiration slow....Making the next image of invisible ink and becoming transparent (perhaps revealing everything and maybe hiding everything ) interesting, sort of the dragon is lost in the images or the image is so great you can't see it...Sort the forest for the trees...Until the fire...the fire creativity? The fire of understanding? comes and reveals all....Something to ponder....

Perhaps the dragon is truth...perhaps what he writes of the truth is not apparent until he reveals it...first to himself and then he holds the truth to the fire for us to see it...

Interesting imagery...


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Re: Swedish Poet Tomas Transtromer wins Nobel Prize for Poetry

Post  Aslinn Dhan on October 6th 2011, 2:21 pm

Later in the poem he writes:

Walk in the footprints of the badger.
It gets dark, difficult to see.
In there on the moss lie stones.
One of the stones is precious.
It can change everything
it can make the darkness shine.
It is a switch for the whole country.
Everything depends on it.
Look at it, touch it…

Just as there are secrets in the urban world of the rainy city, which seems to be his self, his city...he is the dragon...you see him then going into the rural, the wilds, and the badger is small and fierce, and solitary....Is it some social movement in it's fetal state, small and fierce, and he is trying to find the strength to follow along in those footsteps and find the stone...In Norse and Celtic countries, the stones are important, the ones that jut out from the others because they look as though it was set there on purpose. Like an idea put before the darkened and uniformed minds of people, if they will just find it and understand...Perhaps this is where the Dragon and the Badger will meet. Maybe the poet is trying to talk about what he knows, the messages in invisible ink, and try to get it to the people and illuminate them. Maybe the stone is the secret he does not know about himself. If he is the dragon, with messages in invisible ink...maybe he thinks if he goes to the stone, where the badger is heading (the people) he will be able to know and understand the messages he has...Interesting..Still reading


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Re: Swedish Poet Tomas Transtromer wins Nobel Prize for Poetry

Post  Barrister on October 6th 2011, 8:56 pm

Lovely, and I like that you are trying to see many possible ways to understand the poem...

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