News & Reviews
Tomas Tranströmer Wins the 2011 Nobel Prize in Literature
Edited Press Release
New Directions announced that Tomas
author of "The Great
Enigma: New Collected Poems," has won the 2011
Nobel Prize for Literature. Long deserved and long awaited, the 2011
Nobel Prize for Literature has gone to a magnificent, unforgettable
Publisher of New Directions, was bowled over this morning: "We are
honored to publish all the poems of this wonderful writer, and we have
been hoping for this much-deserved recognition for many years — waiting
and waiting 'until the light overtook me / and folded up time', to
quote the poet himself."
A Swedish poet born in Stockholm in 1931, Tomas Tranströmer worked
as a psychologist. He has written ten collections of poems that the
Nobel Prize Committee praised for their “condensed, translucent images
that give us fresh access to reality.”
New Directions publishes his complete poems in one volume titled The
Great Enigma: New Collected Poems. Tranströmer was first published
by New Directions in 1966, in New Directions in Prose & Poetry #16.
The best-known Scandinavian poet of the postwar period, and the most
widely translated, his other books available in English include
Selected Poems 1954-1986; The Half-Finished Heaven; For the Living and
the Dead; Night Vision; and Windows and Stars.
For many years seriously debilitated by a stroke, Tranströmer
continues to write. He is also an avid pianist and has released a
recording of classical piano pieces performed with his left hand.
Tranströmer has received numerous public recognitions for his
poetry including the Neustadt International Prize for Literature, the
Bonnier Award for Poetry, Germany’s Petrarch Prize, the Bellman Prize,
the Swedish Academy’s Nordic Prize, the August Prize, and a Lifetime
Recognition Award in 2007 from The Griffin Trust.
Sketch in October
The tugboat is freckled with
rust. What’s it doing here
so far inland?
It’s a heavy extinguished lamp
in the cold.
But the trees have wild colors:
signals to the
As if someone wanted to be
On my way home I see mushrooms
through the grass.
They are fingers, stretching
for help, of someone
who has long been sobbing alone
in the darkness.
We are the earth’s.
The Great Enigma is the most complete edition of Tranströmer's
work in English, collecting all of his book-length collections,
individual poems, and his moving autobiography in prose, Memories Look
at Me (1993). Translated by Robin Fulton, "Like the sun's shining
whisper, Tranströmer's voice is magnified by silence until it
reaches every corner of the room." (The New York Sun)
Included in The Great Enigma are: 17 Poems (1954), Secrets on the Way
(1958), Prison (1959), The Half-Finished Heaven (1962), Bells and
Tracks (1966), Seeing in the Dark (1970), Paths (1973), his “epic,”
Baltics (1974), The Truthbarrier (1978), The Wild Market Square (1983),
For the Living and the Dead (1989), The Sad Gondola (1996), The Great
Enigma (2004) and the prose autobiography, Memories Look at Me (1993).
Translator Robin Fulton is a Scottish poet long resident in Norway. He
has translated some thirty books of poetry and prose, most recently
works by Henrik Nordbrandt and Olav Hauge. His many books include
Selected Poems 1963-1978; Fields of Focus; Coming Down to Earth; and
The Way the Words Are Taken: Selected Essays.
For more information about New Directions check out their website.
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