Tomas Tranströmer – 2011

Tomas Gösta Tranströmer (Swedish: [ˈtʊːmas ˈjœsˈta ˈtrɑːnˈstrœmər]; born 15 April 1931) is a Swedish poet, psychologist and translator. His poems capture the long Swedish winters, the rhythm of the seasons and the palpable, atmospheric beauty of nature. Tranströmer’s work is also characterized by a sense of mystery and wonder underlying the routine of everyday life, a quality which often gives his poems a religious dimension. Indeed, he has been described as a Christian poet.

Tranströmer is acclaimed as one of the most important Scandinavian writers since the Second World War. Critics have praised his poetry for its accessibility, even in translation. His poetry has been translated into over 60 languages. He is the recipient of the 1990 Neustadt International Prize for Literature and the 2011 Nobel Prize in Literature.

Tranströmer was born in Stockholm in 1931 and raised by his mother, a schoolteacher, following her divorce from his father. He received his secondary education at the Södra Latin School in Stockholm, where he began writing poetry. In addition to selected journal publications, his first collection of poems, 17 Poems was published in 1954. He continued his education at Stockholm University, graduating as a psychologist in 1956 with additional studies in history, religion, and literature. Between 1960 and 1966, Tranströmer split his time between working as a psychologist at the Roxtuna center for juvenile offenders and writing poetry.