Swedish poet Tomas Tranströmer was awarded the 2011 Nobel Prize for Literature “because, through his condensed, translucent images, he gives us fresh access to reality” (see the press release here).

For those who keep track, he is the first poet to win since 1996, when Wislaw Szymborska won. However, he is the eighth European to win the in the last ten years. However, again, he is the first Scandinavian to win since 1974, when Eyvind Johnson shared the award with Harry Martinson.

I haven’t read a word written by Tranströmer, despite the fact that his name is always toward the top of the list of Nobel potentials and the fact that two of my favorite publishers have published books by him (New Directions published The Great Enigma: New Collected Poems and Graywolf Press published The Half-Finished Heaven: The Best Poems of Tomas Tranströmer).

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