a Swedish writer, poet and translator, whose poetry has been deeply influential in Sweden, as well as around the world. He was the recipient of the 2011 Nobel Prize in Literature "because, through his condensed, transluscent images, he gives us fresh access to reality".
Tranströmer received his secondary education at the Södra Latin School in Stockholm and graduated as a psychologist from Stockholm University in 1956. He began writing at thirteen, and published his first collection of poems, 17 dikter (Seventeen Poems) in 1954. An English translation by Robin Fulton of his entire body of work, New Collected Poems, was published in the UK in 1987 and expanded in 1997. ... more »
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Tomas Tranströmer Poems
After a Death
Once there was a shock that left behind a long, shimmering comet tail. It keeps us inside. It makes the TV pictures snowy. It settles in cold drops on the telephone wires.
The Indoors is Endless
It’s spring in 1827, Beethoven hoists his death-mask and sails off. The grindstones are turning in Europe’s windmills.
They switch off the light and its white shade glimmers for a moment before dissolving like a tablet in a glass of darkness. Then up.
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.
The Under Secretary leans forward and draws an X and her ear-drops dangle like swords of Damocles.
November in the Former DDR
The almighty cyclop’s-eye clouded over and the grass shook itself in the coal dust. Beaten black and blue by the night’s dreams
Comments about Tomas Tranströmer
(4 April 1928 - 28 May 2014)
(March 26, 1874 – January 29, 1963)
(10 December 1830 – 15 May 1886)
(26 April 1564 - 23 April 1616)
(12 July 1904 – 23 September 1973)
Edgar Allan Poe
(19 January 1809 - 7 October 1849)
(1 February 1902 – 22 May 1967)
(31 May 1819 - 26 March 1892)
(31 October 1795 – 23 February 1821)
After a Death
Once there was a shock
that left behind a long, shimmering comet tail.
It keeps us inside. It makes the TV pictures snowy.
It settles in cold drops on the telephone wires.
One can still go slowly on skis in the winter sun
through brush where a few leaves hang on.
They resemble pages torn from old telephone directories.
Names swallowed by the cold.
It is still beautiful to hear the heart beat
but often the shadow seems more real than the body.
The samurai looks insignificant
beside his armor of black dragon scales.
translated by Robert Bly