A Short Film About Swedish Poet Tranströmer

Stockholm/ United Kingdom

Tomas Tranströmer (1931– 2015) was born in a working-class part of Stockholm, Sweden. His writing career began by publishing his first book of poetry (17 Poems, Albert Bonniers förlag, 1954), at the age of twenty-three while still in university studies. He received a Ph.D. Psychology at Stockholm University, and worked as a psychologist. His poetry has been translated into over 60 languages. He was the recipient of the 2011 Nobel Prize in Literature.

Credits: A film by Joanna Bartholomew, Blakeway Productions

Copyright © Nobel Media AB 2011

Peruvian Poet Blanca Varela, The Intellectuals and Expats of The Paris Left Bank Cafes

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Blanca Varela in Paris 1940

Editing an anthology of Latin American poets of the twentieth century for Dan Veach at The Atlanta Review, I found this remarkable photograph of Peruvian poet Blanca Varela many years ago. This enchanting photograph is of Varela in her late 20s, perhaps during a period when she traveled to Paris with her new husband, abstract and conceptual artist Fernando de Szyszlo Valdelomar. In Paris she met artists and intellectuals, such as André Breton, Jean-Paul Sartre, Simone de Beauvoir, Henri Michaux, Alberto Giacometti and Fernand Léger. In the early twentieth century, the bookstores and cafes of the Left Bank along the Seine River were a magnet that drew many Latin American artists and writers. The extraordinary Polish painter Tamara de Lempika, visiting Moscow with her new husband, fled to Paris as The Bolshevik Revolution erupted in Russia. Mexican poet Octavio Paz, a future Nobel Prize recipient for Literature, also met Varela in Paris. Paz talking about his encounters with intellectuals in the cafés of the Latin Quarter at Café de Flore on the Seine River said of her: “At that time we all used to sing. And among those songs you could hear a lonesome song of one Peruvian girl: Blanca Varela. The most secret, timid and natural of them all.”

Additional Information

Varela’s mother was Serafina Quinteras a writer, poet, singer, journalist, and composer. Blanca studied Humanities and Education at the National University of San Marcos. After her time in Paris, Varela lived in Florence, Italy and Washington, D.C. In 1962 she returned to Lima, Peru and then traveled mainly to the U.S, Spain, and France. She was awarded the Octavio Poetry Prize (Mexico City) , The International Federico García Lorca Prize (Granada, Spain), and Queen Sophia’s Prize for Iberoamerican Poetry (Madrid, Spain). Her books have been translated into English, German, Italian, Portuguese, Russian, and Czech. She passed away in 2009 in her native Peru.

Steven Ford Brown

Norwegian Music Video

Finnmark, Norway

The band Røyksopp, from Tromsø from Troms of Finnmark, Norway, is one of the best-known electronic bands in the contemporary Nordic music scene (Denmark, Finland, Greenland, Iceland, Norway, Sweden). Part of the European Union, the collective population of the Nordic region is 28 million people united by similar cultures and languages. A very active and popular nightlife in the region’s iconic cities (Copenhagen, Helsinki, Oslo, Reykjavik, Stockholm) provides large young audiences for the popular bands and musicians. After releasing two albums in Norway, Røyksopp received worldwide attention from music videos on America’s MTV in heavy rotation. Their song “Sparks” was licensed by Apple Inc. for use as the welcome music to the company’s Mac OS X Panther operating system (2003), playing the first time a user booted a new Apple-brand computer. In Norway the band continues to create and release their stunning music and videos to a global audience.

London Photographer Adopts Swedish Baby Squirrels

Youtube Channel for Dani Connor Wilde in London

Link to Danni Connor on Instagram

Dani Connor Wilde, a pretty wildlife photographer and zoologist from London, England goes on a blind date with four orphan baby red squirrels in a wild forest in Sweden and they all fall in love! Very sweet little video of an intrepid photographer and girlfriend to the little squirrels.

Tanzanian writer Abdulrazak Gurnah awarded 2021 Nobel Prize in Literature

Tanzania/ United Kingdom

The Swedish Academy of the Nobel Prize announced this morning in Stockholm that novelist Abdulrazak Gurnah has been awarded the 2021 Prize in Literature. Born on the island of Zanzibar, off the coast of East Africa, Gurnah emigrated as a refugee to Great Britain as a student in 1968 to escape persecution during the Zanzibar Revolution. He studied at Christ Church College, Canterbury, and received a degree from the University of London. He received a PhD degree from the University of Kent. The central theme of his academic and literary works focus on postcolonial history, literature, and politics of colonialism and its impact on the people of Africa, the Caribbean and India.

Link Nobel Prize Biography Abdulrazak Gurnah

Link For Memoir Stockholm

Boston, MA/ Stockholm, Sweden

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Tomas Tranströmer receives 2011 Nobel Prize in Stockholm

Link to Memoir: https://tomastranstromer.us/memoir/

My trip to Stockholm was the end of this trip to Europe. A visit with Monica and Tomas had been meaningful as they had become friends in both my life and imagination. At the Writer’s Union before I left, I shared a conversation with Anya about our mutual interest in the American and Russian writers of our reading histories. As we talked on a bench in the garden, the sky and world around us expanded as literary angels looked down upon us and listened to our conversation. The sky above was busy towing its infinite, luminous blue cargo of birds, clouds, human dreams, and sunlight towards the end of day. We said goodbye and separated in two different directions: I would return to America and Anya back to Moscow. Inspired by the fullness of this trip on the way to the airport, I suddenly wanted to sneak aboard a train and continue on a night trip to Portugal, to Lisbon to enjoy more Europe! Not less, but more Europe.

Steven Ford Brown

Tranströmer Video Poem

Boston, MA/ Amsterdam, Nerherlands

Dutch actress, singer Louise Korthals of Amsterdam  

The Blue House

It is night with glaring sunshine. I stand in the woods and look towards my house with its misty blue walls. As though I were recently dead and saw the house from a new angle.

It has stood for more than eighty summers. Its timber has been impregnated, four times with joy and three times with sorrow. When someone who has lived in the house dies it is repainted. The dead person paints it himself, without a brush,  from the inside.

On the other side is open terrain. Formerly a garden, now wilderness. A still surf of weed, pagodas of weed, an unfurling body of text, Upanishades of weed, a Viking fleet of weed, dragon heads, lances, an empire of weed.

Above the overgrown garden flutters the shadow of a boomerang, thrown again and again. It is related to someone who lived in the house long before my time. Almost a child. An impulse issues from him, a thought, a thought of will: “create. . .draw. ..” In order to escape his destiny in time.

The house resembles a child’s drawing. A deputizing childishness which grew forth because someone prematurely renounced the charge of being a child. Open the doors, enter! Inside unrest dwells in the ceiling and peace in the walls. Above the bed there hangs an amateur painting representing a ship with seventeen sails, rough sea and a wind that the gilded frame cannot subdue.

It is always so early in here, it is before the crossroads, before the irrevocable choices. I am grateful for this life! And yet I miss the alternatives. All sketches wish to be real.

A motor far out on the water extends the horizon of the summer night. Both joy and sorrow swell in the magnifying glass of the dew. We do not actually know it, but we sense it: our life has a sister vessel which plies an entirely different route. While the sun burns behind the islands.

From The Blue House, translated from the Swedish by Göran Malmqvist, published by Thunder City Press in Houston, Texas. Copyright © 1987 by Göran Malmqvist. Reprinted by permission. All rights reserved.