Swedish poet, Tomas Transtromer, was considered by many as a master of metaphor.
Tomas Gosta Transtromer was born in Stockholm on April 15, 1931. His father was a journalist and his parents divorced when he was young. Tomas was mostly reared by his mother who was a teacher. He studied literature, history, religion and psychology at the Stockholm University and graduated in 1956.
The Swedish poet was awarded with 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. Tomas died on Thursday in his home city of Stockholm at the age of 83. Tomas leaves behind a wife, the former Monica Bladh and two daughters.
The death of the poet was announced by the Swedish publisher Albert Bonniers without giving any cause for the death. However at the age of 59 in 1990, Mr. Transtromer suffered a stroke that had severely curtailed his ability to speak and he even lost the use of his right arm.
The poet David Orr explains the way Mr. Transtromer wrote in an essay stating that the typical Transtromer poem is an exercise in which relatively spare language acquires remarkable depth and every word seems measured to the millimeter.
Tomas Transtromer was a renowned and hugely popular figure in his home country. Some American critics have referred to Mr. Transtromer as Sweden’s Robert Frost. Although Tomas Transtromer was not well known among the American readers he was greatly admired and read by English speaking poets.
One of his greatest admirers is his friends Robert Bly who has also translated many of his poems and Seamus Heaney who himself is also a Nobel laureate. Seamus Heaney stated to NYTimes that he was very delighted and happy when he had heard that Tomas Transtromer had won the Nobel Prize. Seamus Heaney is however no longer with us as he died in 2013.
The first book that Tomas Transtromer had published was ’17 Poems’ which he had published in 1954. Many of Mr. Transtromer’s themes and interests such as music and the beauty and inspiration of the outdoors was quite visible in his books especially ’17 Poems’.
Tomas Transtromer is also a trained psychologist and for many years he has worked in state institutions with juvenile offenders, the disabled and parole violators. Many critics also note that Mr. Transtromer frequently used his inventive and striking metaphors to examine the depths of the human mind.
Mr. Transtromer mostly began his poems with descriptions of mundane settings and acts but he was also interested in other uncontrollable wanderings of thought. Due to many of his poems having transcendental moments many of the critics believed that he was a religious poet or a mystic.
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