Tomas Transtromer, a Swedish poet who won the Nobel Prize in Literature in 2011 for a body of work known for shrewd metaphors couched in deceptively spare language, crystalline descriptions of natural beauty and explorations of the mysteries of identity and creativity, died on Thursday in Stockholm. He was 83.
The Swedish publisher Albert Bonniers announced the death without giving a cause. In 1990, at age 59, Mr. Transtromer had a stroke that severely curtailed his ability to speak; he also lost the use of his right arm.
With a pared-down style and brusque, forthright diction, Mr. Transtromer (pronounced TRAWN-stroh-mur) wrote in accessible language, though often in the service of ideas that were diaphanous and not easy to parse; he could be precisely observant one moment and veer toward surrealism the next.
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Credits: A film by Joanna Bartholomew, Blakeway Productions
Copyright © Nobel Media AB 2011
Photo: Annica Roos
To win the Nobel Prize is to see all things of one’s life celebrated. Even an insect collection from childhood. Thus the Swedish Museum of Natural History in Stockholm created an exhibit of Tranströmer’s boyhood insect collection. An accompanying guide book was also published in a limited edition by Fredrik Sjöberg, an entomologist, who describes in six beautiful essays the young Tranströmer’s forays over Runmarö island in the Stockholm archipelago, in search of all things insect, small and rare.
The essays are preceded by a citation by Charles Darwin: “It seems therefore that a taste for collecting beetles is some indication for future success in life.”
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A previously unknown beetle species has been named for poet Tomas Tranströmer. Entomologist Michael Sörensson of Lund University (Sweden) discovered the beetle and named it after Tranströmer as a tribute to the poet. It was announced in conjunction with the celebration of the poet’s 80th birthday.
The species named Mordellistena transtroemeriana (Poet’s Towers Ram) was discovered in Gotland, Sweden’s largest island and the largest island in the Baltic Sea, and is so far only known in two types. The new species is between 5 and 6 millimeters long. Its habits are still unknown, but Mikael Sörensson is planning an expedition to the island of Gotland to further investigate the new species.
On December 10, 2011, Tomas Tranströmer received the Nobel Prize in Literature in his hometown Stockholm. On this occasion we are not only able to present Tomas Tranströmer’s poetry on lyrikline.org, made possible with the help of our Swedish lyrikline.org partner Ramus. but also got an interview with the young British filmmaker Martin Earle about his short film A Galaxy Over There (2009), based on on Tranströmer’s poem Schubertiana.
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