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Guernica Contributor Tomas Tranströmer Wins Nobel Prize in Literature

October 6, 2011

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Transtromer377.jpgPhotograph via Wikimedia Commons by Tokistar.

It is with great enthusiasm that we congratulate poet Tomas Tranströmer for his 2011 Nobel Prize in Literature.

If you’re wondering where to sample the newest Nobel honoree’s work, may we humbly suggest (ahem) you look no further.

In May 2005 we were offered a translation of Tranströmer’s short evocative poem, “Midwinter.” The poem began, “A blue glow / Streams out from my clothes. / Midwinter.”

Hooked as we were, little did we know we had a Nobel Prize contender on our hands.

A year later, via the same source, we happily published another evocative chain of images in “Three Haiku.”

Tranströmer’s mastery is clear in these stanzas. “Three Haiku,” starts simply enough: “Night—a twelve-wheeler / goes by making the dreams of / the inmates shiver.”

It is not the inmates themselves who shiver. In these poems, “…there is an opening / Where the dead / Are smuggled over the border.”

As we celebrate international literature through its latest, highest honoree, it is incumbent on us all at Guernica to thank Mary Bly of Fordham University for going to bat for us to her esteemed father, Robert Bly, the eminent poet, translator of this and so much excellent poetry from around the world, to win us these fine poems. Without translations, without awards like the Nobel Prize, so much of our common heritage would be invisible to us.

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