And the Nobel Prize Winner for Literature 2011 is ......Tomas Transtromer UPDATE

Well, my early morning hunch came to fruition ( see previous post with poem Espresso here)- 

I didn't place a monetary bet ; nevertheless it's nice to know intuition was at work.

Despite the final rush on Bob Dylan as favourite to win, the poet Transtromer got the lucky phone call and the Nobel prize, the first Swede to do so since 1974. 

The award was given "because, through his condensed, translucent images, he gives us fresh access to reality", so say the Nobel Committee - link here 

The last poet to win was another favourite of mine, Wislawa Szymborska in 1996.
Now - how to say Transtromer  because you see it's got umlauts.

so that means you pronounce it Tranströöööömer.

He had a stroke a few years ago apparently, and can't speak. However, there are precedents for not delivering the speech, but only publishing it. Doris Lessing did so in 2007, as she was too ill to travel.

Born in a working-class Stockholm neighborhood in 1931, Tranströmer has lived a unique life as a poet. 

He has never been affiliated with a university, an artistic school or movement, a literary magazine, a publishing house, or the Swedish Academy;
instead he made a living as a prison psychologist in a juvenile corrections institute.

He has also earned a reputation as a skilled literary translator, entomologist, and classical pianist. The stroke he suffered in 1990 has hampered the mobility of his right side, yet he continues his life as a poet and also performs one-handed piano recitals throughout Europe.

As some regular readers here will notice I am a great fan of liminal spaces and so I particularly am drawn to his work:

"He probes the connections between the realms of the conscious and subconscious, the visible and the invisible. His poems often begin in the empirical world and leap forth into the mysteries of the unseen."

Memorable quote

In the middle of life it happens that death comes and measures man. 
The visit is forgotten and life continues. 
But the suit is made, quietly.
- Tomas Tranströmer

You can read a few of his poems here and more reviews here

The medal of the Swedish Academy represents a young man sitting under a laurel tree who, enchanted, listens to and writes down the song of the Muse.

The inscription reads:

Inventas vitam juvat excoluisse per artes

loosely translated "And they who bettered life on earth by their newly found mastery."
(Word for word: Inventions enhance life which is beautified through art.)

The words are taken from Vergil's Aeneid, the 6th song, verse 663;

Lo, God-loved poets, men who spake things worthy Phoebus' heart;
and they who bettered life on earth by new-found mastery

The name of the Leaureate is engraved on the plate below the figures.

Congrats Tomas !

Another gem : an extract from one of his poems which highlights liminal space so well

It happens rarely
that one of us really sees the other
a person shows himself for an instant
as in a photograph but clearer
and in the background
something which is bigger than his shadow.

He's standing full-length before a mountain.
It's more a snail's shell than a mountain.
It's more a house than a snail's shell.
It's not a house but has many rooms.
It's indistinct but overwhelming.
He grows out of it, it out of him.
It's his life, it's his labyrinth.

from 'The Gallery'

Enhanced by Zemanta

No comments: