Tranströmer in Japan

Mori at the Takada-Honzan Temple in Tsu, Japan_

I met Megumi from Japan when she came to Boston to attend college. During her time here she enjoyed her American experience. I had studied Japanese culture and poetry during my academics. I introduced her to the poetry of Tomas Tranströmer and gave her one of his books and a photo. After her return to Japan, enchanted by his poetry, she sent me a photograph of herself with a Tranströmer photo at the Takada-Honzan Temple in Tsu, Japan.   Steven Ford Brown

Memoir Tranströmer

Steven Ford Brown

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I corresponded sporadically with Monica and Tomas Tranströmer in Sweden after they left. I would not see Tomas again until 1988 after I moved from Texas to Boston, Massachusetts. In Cambridge, I was invited to be a Board member of the New England Poetry Club, founded in 1915 at Harvard University by Conrad Aiken, Robert Frost, and Amy Lowell. After its founding, The Poetry Club quickly became one of the most prominent literary institutions in New England, sponsoring a reading series that is now the oldest continuous reading series in the United States. Within a year of joining the Board, I used my previous non-profit grant writing experience to write a successful request of $5,000 from the National Endowment for the Arts in Washington, D.C., to support the reading series. The NEA grant included a stipend and travel expenses to bring Tomas from Sweden to Cambridge.

Tomas Tranströmer read to a large audience in a seminar room at Harvard University in Cambridge. More than 200 people filled seats and lined walls as he read. In reading, Tomas provided explanations of his poems and used his dry sense of humor to add levity. And then there were the poems: the beautiful, luminous, remarkable poems.

The after-party was at the Cambridge home of Diana Der Hovanessian, President of the New England Poetry Club. I made my way through the party to Tomas. He remarked how strange it was to have previously seen me in the flat, dry landscape of Texas and now again in New England’s snowy landscape. He was in robust health and engaged with the party people.

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Tranströmer Video Poem

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.

“Kyrie”

“Kyrie” by Tomas Tranströmer

Created and produced by Amrendra Pandey in Bengaluru, India

Amrendra Pandey is a research scholar and PhD in Molecular Physics at Raman Research Institute, India.

Kyrie

At times my life suddenly opens its eyes in the dark.
A feeling of masses of people pushing blindly
through the streets, excitedly, toward some miracle,
while I remain here and no one sees me.

It is like the child who falls asleep in terror
listening to the heavy thumps of his heart.
For a long, long time till morning puts his light in the locks
and the doors of darkness open.

—Tomas Tranströmer

Political Correctness Now Invades World of Literary Translations

Dutch poet declines assignment to translate Gorman’s works

MARCH 11, 2021

THE HAGUE, Netherlands (AP) — A writer who was chosen to translate American poet Amanda Gorman’s work into Dutch has handed back the assignment following criticism that a white author was selected to translate the words of a Black woman who is the youngest inaugural poet in U.S. history.

Marieke Lucas Rijneveld, who last year became the youngest writer to win the International Booker Prize with her novel “The Discomfort of Evening,” announced the decision in a Twitter post Friday.

A Dutch translation of “The Hill We Climb,” the poem Gorman recited to wide acclaim at the inauguration of U.S. President Joe Biden, was scheduled to be released at the end of March by publisher Meulenhoff.

LINK AP NEWS

 

Nobel Prize in Literature 2020 awarded to Louise Glück “for her unmistakable poetic voice that with austere beauty makes individual existence universal.”

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The 2020 Nobel Prize Diploma

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Glück in Cambridge

The American poet Louise Glück was born 1943 in New York and lives in Cambridge, Massachusetts. Apart from her writing she is a professor of English at Yale University, New Haven, Connecticut. She made her debut in 1968 with Firstborn, and was soon acclaimed as one of the most prominent poets in American contemporary literature. She has received several prestigious awards, among them the Pulitzer Prize (1993) and the National Book Award (2014). Louise Glück has published twelve collections of poetry and volumes of essays on poetry. All are characterized by a striving for clarity. Childhood and family life, the close relationship with parents and siblings, is a thematic that has remained central with her. In her poems, the self listens for what is left of its dreams and delusions, and nobody can be harder than she in confronting the illusions of the self. But even if Glück would never deny the significance of the autobiographical background, she is not to be regarded as a confessional poet. Glück seeks the universal, and in this she takes inspiration from myths and classical motifs, present in most of her works. The voices of Dido, Persephone and Eurydice – the abandoned, the punished, the betrayed – are masks for a self in transformation, as personal as it is universally valid.

The Triumph of Achilles (1985) and Ararat (1990) Glück found a growing audience in USA and abroad. In Ararat three characteristics unite to subsequently recur in her writing: the topic of family life; austere intelligence; and a refined sense of composition that marks the book as a whole. Glück has also pointed out that in these poems she realized how to employ ordinary diction in her poetry. The deceptively natural tone is striking. We encounter almost brutally straightforward images of painful family relations. It is candid and uncompromising, with no trace of poetic ornament. It reveals much about her own poetry when in her essays Glück cites the urgent tone in Eliot, the art of inward listening in Keats or the voluntary silence in George Oppen. But in her own severity and unwillingness to accept simple tenets of faith she resembles more than any other poet, Emily Dickinson. Louise Glück is not only engaged by the errancies and shifting conditions of life, she is also a poet of radical change and rebirth, where the leap forward is made from a deep sense of loss.

🔗 Link to: Nobel Prize Gluck

American Poet Louise Gluck Wins 2020 Nobel Prize for Literature in Stockholm, Sweden

Louise Elisabeth Glück born April 22, 1943 is an American poet and essayist. She won the 2020 Nobel Prize in Literature, whose judges praised “her unmistakable poetic voice that with austere beauty makes individual existence universal”. Her other awards include the Pulitzer Prize, National Humanities Medal, National Book Award, National Book Critics Circle Award, and Bollingen Prize. From 2003 to 2004, she was Poet Laureate of the United States. Glück is an adjunct professor and Rosenkranz Writer in Residence at Yale University. She lives in Cambridge, Massachusetts.