Transtromer, Tomas

(1931-)
   A Swedish poet of international renown, Transtromer is the foremost poet of his generation and has been extensively translated into English. He had his debut at the age of 23 with 17 dikter (1954; Seventeen Poems), which made it clear that he was going to be a literary force to be reckoned with. His second collection, Hemligheter pa vagen (1958; Secrets on the Way), was the result of several years of education and travel. At the start of his career Transtromer was an observer who created bold metaphors that, combined with traditional modernist form, provided both a sense of tradition and a startling newness of vision.
   Den halvfaärdiga himlen (1962; The Half-Finished Heaven) marks a transition from objective observation to a more personal expression, signaled by more frequent use of the first-person pronoun. Klanger och spar (1966; Resonances and Tracks) shows increased concern with matters of society and politics; the Transtromer family had left Stockholm in 1960, and the poet was holding down a day job as a psychologist at a reform school for boys. Transtromer was, however, criticized by younger Swedish poets for not having gone far enough; the war in Vietnam and exploitative behavior by multinational corporations had radicalized many Swedish artists and intellectuals, and the student revolt of 1968 was right around the corner.
   The volume Moärkerseende (1970; tr. Night Vision, 1971) acknowledged the ideological distance that separated Transtromer from his younger colleagues, and it also included poems that were influenced by his work experience and some that stemmed from his family life, including experience with illness and death. The long poem Oästers-joar (1974; tr. Baltics, 1975) is even more personal, as it is filled with recollections of his maternal grandfather and summers in the Stockholm archipelago, but it also reflects the political realities of the time. In the collection Sanningsbarriaären (1978; tr. Truth Barriers, 1980) the erstwhile observer of life has become an active participant who writes about his intimate involvement in the lives of other human beings.
   Transtromer has cultivated a variety of verse forms. Det vilda torget (1983; tr. The Wild Market Place, 1985) and For levande och doäda (1989; tr. For the Living and the Dead, 1994) are notable for their prose poems. The latter garnered Transtromer the Nordic Literary Prize in 1990. After partly recovering from a stroke, Transtromer published a memoir, Minnena ser mig (1993; The Memories Look at Me). The collection Sorgegondolen (1996; Grief Gondola), the title of which refers to two piano pieces by Franz Liszt (1811-1886), contains poems informed by his illness, but they also attest to his courage. Den stora gatan (2004; The Great Riddle) consists of five relatively short poems followed by a section of haikus.

Historical Dictionary of Scandinavian Literature and Theater. . 2006.

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  • Tranströmer, Tomas — ▪ Swedish poet born April 15, 1931, Stockholm, Sweden       Swedish lyrical poet noted for his resonant and strangely suggestive imagery.       Tranströmer earned a degree in psychology at the University of Stockholm in 1956 and served from 1960… …   Universalium

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  • Tranströmer — Tranströmer,   Tomas Göran, schwedischer Schriftsteller, * Stockholm 15. 4. 1931; gilt als einer der bedeutendsten schwedischen Lyriker der Gegenwart. T.s Lyrik, die vom Ausdruck her meist kühl und asketisch wirkt, verwendet eine reiche, dabei… …   Universal-Lexikon

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  • Tomas Tranströmer — (2008) Tomas Gösta Tranströmer [ˌtʊmːas ˈjœsˈta ˈtɹɑːnstɹœməɹ] (* 15. April 1931 in Stockholm) ist ein schwedischer Lyriker. 2011 wurde ihm der Nobelpreis für Literatur zugesprochen …   Deutsch Wikipedia

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