Nobel Prize for Literature: Tomas Tranströmer

Thursday, October 06, 2011

Rika Lesser,  poet and translator of Swedish and German literature and author of several collections of poetry including Etruscan Things and Questions of Love: New & Selected Poems, discusses this year's Nobel Prize winner for literature, Tomas Tranströmer, his poetry and his place in the poetry world.


Rika Lesser

Comments [9]

Burhan from London

I'm glad that Tranströmer finally won the prize. Along with another poet, Adonis, he has been rumored to be in the shortlist for many years now. And he has been a big and well-known name in world literature for quite some time, at least among typical poetry buffs who read translated works from time to time.

So I was quite surprised that not many people know his work -- I mean, it was not like when Szymborska won the Nobel many years ago.

Then again, translated poetry has not been that popular for many years now. I'm not writing this to prove that I am cultured. Very few poetry readers have heard of Yves Bonnefoy, Mahmoud Darwish, Bei Dao, or Hans Magnus Enzenberger either.

Tranströmer should have been awarding the prize ten years ago but I guess the Academy was trying to make amends for previously awarding the prize to many Scandinavians.

Oct. 07 2011 02:30 PM
bigbinnj from nj

On Honoring A Poet

to celebrate a poet
is an invitation
into imagination
changed/charged perception

to celebrate a poet
is to light a
for the demonstrator
or downtrodden
to find
and be led to
where that small
declaring ones calling
can be answered
'yes, i am coming'
'with confidence'

to celebrate a poet
to a weary world
'rest, read, reach
into the vast
reserve of
the universe.
find, if only
for a moment,
the peace of
letting go,
of looking through
another's eyes,
of knowing from
the poet's pen
and the reader's
something new is

Oct. 06 2011 11:44 AM
John from NJ

Most of these comments are nonsense--possibly including mine.

I've never heard of Mr. Transtromer, but I enjoyed the poems that were read on the air. I went to look in an anthology of international poetry I have, and found more poems buy him there. Now I need to go buy one of his books.

Poetry is nice.

Oct. 06 2011 11:04 AM
john from office

Reminds me of YES, the band, everyone said they were GREAT!!!! NOT

Oct. 06 2011 10:44 AM
john from office

Is evveryone remarkable?? Everyone a genius??

Oct. 06 2011 10:43 AM
Chris from NYC

Y'all need to chill. I commend Brian for this segment. Poetry gives us all a chance to breathe. How nice, in this fast paced, heartless, media-driven world, to consider an arrangement of words.

Oct. 06 2011 10:42 AM

Lord. this woman who translates the poetry.,
and knows the nobel laureate.
where is her joy?
is she stuck in gloomy? or what?
give that woman some coffee, some sugar!
some joy ! Rika.a downer on the edge of this great news, great accomplishment for the poet.

Oct. 06 2011 10:40 AM
john from office

This segment is a million miles away from the last. I really cannot see the point. Obama, who I support, won the peace prize?? what is the point PLEASE!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

Open ended nonsense words, that we cannot call nonsense because we are supposed to like it.

Oct. 06 2011 10:39 AM
jgarbuz from Queens

Who cares about art or literature? That's entertainment for the elite. I want the Nobel Prize for the creators of the best video games!

Oct. 06 2011 10:34 AM

Leave a Comment

Email addresses are required but never displayed.

Get the WNYC Morning Brief in your inbox.
We'll send you our top 5 stories every day, plus breaking news and weather.