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Schweden Nobelpreisträger Tomas Tranströmer
Image: picture-alliance/dpa/F. Sandberg/Scanpix

Nobel laureate Tomas Transtroemer passes away at age 83

March 27, 2015

Transtroemer, a poet and psychologist from Stockholm, has died after two decades of medical complications. His mystical poetry has been described as "secular prayers."


Swedish poet Tomas Transtroemer, who became a Nobel laureate in literature in 2011, died at the age of 83, his publisher Bonniers confirmed on Friday. Originally splitting his time between psychology and poetry, Transtroemer eventually published 15 collections of poems over his career, and his work has been translated in over 60 languages.

Transtroemer suffered a stroke in 1990, affecting his ability to speak. The Nobel Foundation said he had passed away on Thursday.

His poems often touched on the themes of nature, history, and death and he was known as a master of mysticism. His poems were often dream-like in nature and explored the relationship between the inner self and the surrounding world.

"A human being's existence does not end where the fingers end," one Swedish critic said of Transtroemer's poems, which have been described as "secular prayers."

Born in Stockholm on April 15, 1931, Transtroemer was raised by his schoolteacher mother after his father left the family. His first collection, 17 Poems, was published in 1954. He was first nominated for the Nobel Prize in 1993, and every year thereafter until his win.

When he was awarded the Nobel Prize in Literature in 2011, the first Swede to do so since 1974, the Nobel Committee said they chose Transtroemer "because, through his condensed, translucent images, he gives us fresh access to reality."

The Swedish foreign ministry took to Twitter to remember the poet: "Sad news. Swedish poet and Nobel Prize winner Tomas Transtroemer has left us. But his words will never die."

Transtroemer's fame in the English-speaking world has much to do with his friendship with American poet Robert Bly, who translated much of the Swede's work into English.

es/kms (AFP, Reuters)

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