Nobel Prize Winning Poet Tomas Transtromer Dead at 83

Posted on March 28, 2015

Tomas Transtromer at the Swedish Academy

Nobel Literature Prize winning poet, author and translator Tomas Tranströmer has died in Stockholm after a brief illness, according to his publisher, Bonniers. He was 83. Transtromer won the Nobel Prize in 2011.

Transtromer worked as a psychologist in Sweden's state hospitals. He wrote on weekends and at night. Considered one of the most brilliant Scandinavian poets, Transtromer is known as a master of metaphor and subtlety, as well as for his spare prose. His work has been translated into more than 60 languages and has been published worldwide.

Transtroemer suffered a stroke in 1990 which affected his speech center and movement on his right side. He understood everything that is said, but has some difficulty speaking. But his wife was able to translate for him so he could still converse with visitors and family. He was still able to write and continued to play the piano using his left hand.

He was able to attend the ceremony in which he was awarded the Nobel Prize by King Gustav. His win caused great joy in Sweden as he had been predicted to win a Nobel Prize for decades, but somehow never did. When he finally won, there was a great deal of celebration. Transtromer is survived by his wife Monika and two daughters, Emma and Paula. You can read five of his poems selected by the Nobel Library of the Swedish Academy here.

Here is a brief documentary of Tomas Transtromer produced by the Nobel Committee. In the video, we see Transtromer and his wife as they discuss winning the Nobel. When asked if they were surprised he finally won, they laugh and joke they are just too old to be surprised by anything. Take a look :

Photo: Helena Paulin-Stromberg/© The Swedish Academy 2011

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