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Factbox: Sweden's Transtromer, Nobel literature laureate

/ Source: Reuters

Tomas Transtromer, 80, won the Nobel prize for literature on Thursday, "because, through his condensed, translucent images, he gives us fresh access to reality," the prize committee said.

Here are some facts about Transtromer:


-- Tomas Transtromer was born in Stockholm in April 1931. As he was growing up, he spent many summers on the island of Runmar, and he evoked its landscape in his poetry collection "stersjar" (1974, "Baltic") and the memoir "Minnena ser mig" (1993).

-- In 1956, he gained a degree in psychology from the University of Stockholm. He worked for the Psychotechnological Institute at the university, and in 1960 he became a psychologist at Roxtuna, an institution for juvenile offenders.

-- From the mid-1960s, Transtromer divided his time between his writing and his work as a psychologist. In 1965 he moved with his family to Vsters, a city about 100 km (60 miles) west of Stockholm.

-- From 1980 he was a psychologist for Arbetsmarknadsinstitutet, a labor organization institute.


-- Transtromer has sold thousands of volumes in his native Sweden and his work has been translated into more than 50 languages.

-- His work has shifted gradually from the traditional and ambitious nature poetry written in his early 20s toward a darker, personal and more open verse, striving to understand and grapple with the unknowable, searching for transcendence.

-- Transtromer made his debut as a poet at 23 with "17 dikter" (1954-17 poems). It included poems in blank verse.

-- Later he experimented with meter, although he has used free verse in most of his work. Hemligheter på vägen (1958-Secrets Along The Way) and Klanger och spår (1966-Windows and Stones) took up themes from Transtromer's travels in different parts of the world, consolidating his standing among critics and other readers as one of the leading poets of his generation.

-- Transtromer's poems are often built around his own experience, around a single, deceptively plain image that opens doors to psychological insights and metaphysical interpretations.

-- In 1990, he suffered a stroke, which affected his ability to talk. He had published in the previous year his 10th collection, "För levande och döda" (For the Living and the Dead). After a gap of a few years, he returned with "Sorgegondolen" (1996, Grief Gondola).

-- In 1990 Transtromer received the Neustadt International Prize for Literature. His other awards include the Bonner Award for Poetry, Germany's Petrarch Prize, Bellman Prize, The Swedish Academy's Nordic Prize and August Prize.

Sources: Reuters/