Contemporary Swedish poet and Nobel laureate
A Swedish poet born in Stockholm in 1931, Tomas Tranströmer worked as a psychologist. He has written ten collections of poems that the Nobel Prize Committee praised for their “condensed, translucent images that give us fresh access to reality.” New Directions publishes his complete poems in one volume titled The Great Enigma: New Collected Poems. Tranströmer was first published by New Directions in 1966, in New Directions in Prose & Poetry #16. The best-known Scandinavian poet of the postwar period, and the most widely translated, his other books available in English include Selected Poems 1954–1986; The Half-Finished Heaven; For the Living and the Dead; Night Vision; and Windows and Stars. For many years seriously debilitated by a stroke, Tranströmer continues to write. He is also an avid pianist and has released a recording of classical piano pieces performed with his left hand. Tranströmer has received numerous public recognitions for his poetry including the Neustadt International Prize for Literature, the Bonnier Award for Poetry, Germany’s Petrarch Prize, the Bellman Prize, the Swedish Academy’s Nordic Prize, the August Prize, and a Lifetime Recognition Award in 2007 from The Griffin Trust. In 2011 he was awarded the Nobel Prize in Literature.
“Like so many great poets before him, Tranströmer is forever reminding us that the world is not what it appears to be; that with mindfulness and close attention, you might get a glimpse of something vast and strange.”
“The Nobel Prize to Mr. Tranströmer is a momentary defeat for ideology and a great victory for poetry.”
“Through his condensed, translucent images, Tranströmer gives us fresh access to reality.”
— The Nobel Prize Committee on Tomas Tranströmer