The odds-makers had their usual short list for the Nobel Prize; perennial favorites such as Philip Roth, Syrian poet Adonis, Dutch writer Cees Nooteboom, Korean poet Ko Un, American novelist Joyce Carol Oates, and this year, even Bob Dylan! But the come-from-behind, not quite dark horse winner this year was a Scandinavian writer, the first since 1974.

Tomas Tranströmer though is more than Scandinavian; he’s Swedish, born in Stockholm. So when his name was announced on October 6, the room of reporters in Stockholm erupted in enthusiastic applause. No favoritism here though; Tranströmer has been on the Nobel short-list for years.

His poetry has been called bleak but powerful, and the themes he explores: nature, identity, and isolation may seem formidable. But his poetry is considered to be very accessible, even in translation, making him a perfect Nobel laureate. You can read a good sampling of his work online, from Google Books.

The Eisenhower library has a decent collection of his books in English translation. And you can count on new editions to be published in the very near future, as well as secondary literature, all of which we will continue to collect.


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