Eighty-year-old Swedish poet Tomas Tranströmer was named winner of the Nobel Prize in Literature at an afternoon press conference in Sweden today. "Because," says permanent secretary of the Swedish Academy Peter Englund, "through his condensed, translucent images, he gives us fresh access to reality."
Tranströmer, whose profession is psychology, investigates the "big questions," says Englund, such as death, history, memory, and nature, but in a way that does not belittle the human condition, but rather "makes us important."
Translated into sixty languages, Tranströmer's most recent collections published in the United States are The Great Enigma: New Collected Poems (New Directions, 2006) and The Half-Finished Heaven (Graywolf Press, 2001). U.K. publisher Bloodaxe Books released an updated volume of their 1997 translation, New Collected Poems in 2010.
The Nobel has not gone to an author from Sweden since 1974, when Swedish poet Harry Martinson and Swedish novelist Eyvind Johnson shared the award.