Friday, October 7, 2011


By Chitranjan Sawant
Tomas Transtromer, the 80 year old poet of Stockholm, Sweden is the proud recipient of the Nobel Prize in Literature for 2011 Heartiest congratulations,Sir. I am sorry I had never heard of your name before this coveted prize was announced. I know you write in the Swedish language and the English speaking world on the other side of the Atlantic came to know of your writings through translations done by your friends. Anyway, award of the highest and the most prestigious prize in literature has made you a celebrity overnight. I join the rejoicing crowd of men and women on both sides of the Atlantic.
Born of Scandinavian parents, Tomas Transtromer had his entire education - primary, secondary and university levels - in the capital of Sweden, Stockholm. He had a good grounding in the three R's at home too as his mother is a teacher and father a journalist. He studied a variety of subjects concentrating on Psychology and Literature. It is learnt that for a short while he worked as a psychiatrist in a school for differently abled children. A good grounding in practical psychology, I guess.
He had been using his pen to write short poems from the beginning of his interest in the Muse. He was read, liked and admired by his compatriots but not much money changed hands. Gradually his finances improved as recognition came from the new world where he came to be known as a poet who loved to address the readers directly. The poetry of his was both a chat and a piece of literature that sublimated soul.
Indeed it was an exhilarating experience to read him in original Swedish language. The English translation too was almost there, just almost there. Nevertheless his circle of readers and admirers grew larger and larger because of the English language. In the citation for the Nobel Prize for literature, the Swedish Academy described his surrealistic poetry “condensed transluscent images” that explore the mysteries of the human mind. His 1966 publication WINDOWS AND STONES and also the Great Enigma of 2004 came in for special appreciation by the Jury. His never say die spirit can be seen in his perseverance in writing and publishing the outstanding work in 2004, almost a decade and a half after he had a major stroke and was partially paralysed.
Unfortunately Tomas suffered a stroke in 1990 and his speech was adversely affected. The Lord compensated HIM BY PUTTING MORE ACCEPTABILITY IN HIS PEN. What he had lost in speech, he gained in writing.
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