December 7, 2011, 4:59 pm
By JENNIFER SCHUESSLER
English-language admirers of Tomas Transtromer, the Swedish poet who will receive this year’s Nobel Prize in Literature in a ceremony in Stockholm on Saturday, will soon have to make room on their shelves for another book.
On Monday Graywolf Press acquired the rights to “Air Mail: The Correspondence of Robert Bly and Tomas Transtromer,” a collection of some 200 letters tentatively scheduled for publication in early 2013.
The book, already a best seller in Sweden, will contain the full correspondence between the two poets, starting in 1964, when Mr. Bly began publishing Mr. Transtromer in his journal The Sixties, and ending in 1990, when a stroke left Mr. Transtromer paralyzed on the right side, complicating his ability to write and speak.
The letters “range across all kinds of subjects,” Jeffrey Shotts, the editor who acquired the book, said in an email. ”Poetry, of course, and the back and forth of translation, critical reception of Transtromer’s work in the United States, politics in Sweden and the United States, the Vietnam War, travel plans, literary gossip, and even Transtromer becoming Bly’s son’s godfather. It is a remarkable portrait of a long-standing (and ongoing) literary friendship.”
Produced by Albert Bonniers förlag, Sweden’s oldest (established 1937) and most prestigious publisher (Bonniers is the Swedish publisher of the new Steve Jobs biography) as a Youtube video channel to promote their authors, this brief video captures Tomas Transtromer in images with his grandfather, mother and wife Monica. A brief but eloquent congratulatory video celebrating the Nobel Prize for Tomas Tranströmer.
By Bob Minzesheimer, USA TODAY
Nothing like the Nobel Prize for Literature to boast a poet’s reputation — and readership.
A day after Swedish poet Tomas Tranströmer was awarded the 2011 prize, one of his American publishers, Ecco, a division of HarperCollins, announced it’s reissuing two volumes of his poetry: For The Living and the Dead: A Memoir and Poems, and Selected Poems, edited by Robert Hass.
Both titles will be reissued in paperback next week, with e-books to follow.
Tranströmer’s other English translations include The Sorrow Gondola (published by Green Integer), The Great Enigma: New Collected Poems (New Directions), and The Half-Finished Heaven: The Best Poems of Tomas Tranströmer (Graywolf).
Tranströmer suffered a stroke two decades ago, which affected his ability to speak, though he has continued to write.
Ecco Publisher Daniel Halpern, who first published Tranströmer in 1987, said in a statement, “So much poetry, not only in this country but everywhere, too often feels small and exclusively confessional – it doesn’t look outward, it looks back at itself. But there are some poets who write a true international poetry and Tomas is among them. It’s his particular sensibility that runs through the poems that’s so deeply seductive. What a wonderful writer he is – lyrical and open, curious and intelligent.”
Hass, a former U.S. poet laureate who edited Tranströmer’s Selected Poems, writes of him, “Perhaps more than any other living poet, Tranströmer conveys a sense of what it is to be a private citizen anywhere in the second half of the twentieth century.”