Tranströmer, Tomas

Tranströmer, Tomas, 1931–2015, Swedish poet, b. Stockholm, grad. Stockholm Univ. (1956), Sweden's (and Scandinavia's) greatest late 20th- and early 21st-century poet. First published in the 1950s, he was a well-known psychologist as well, specializing in treating adolescent prisoners, addicts, and the disabled. His modernist poetry, usually short in length and muted in tone, has been described as icily lyrical, elegant and direct, and very much of its own time. It frequently revolves around his own experiences, often evokes the stark landscape of his homeland, and is replete with strikingly unusual imagery. He published more than 20 volumes of verse, and his work has been widely translated. Among the English translations of his work are Night Vision (1972), For the Living and the Dead: New Poems and a Memoir (1995, repr. 2011), The Half-Finished Heaven: The Best Poems of Tomas Tranströmer (2001), The Great Enigma: New Collected Poems (2006), The Deleted World (2006), and Bright Scythe: Selected Poems (2015). In 1990 he suffered a stroke that affected his speech and the use of his right arm, but he continued to write poetry. Tranströmer was awarded the Nobel Prize in Literature in 2011.

See his memoir Memories Look at Me (tr. 2011); Airmail: The Letters of Robert Bly and Tomas Tranströmer (2013).

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