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From Contemporary Poetry Review:


Every year, as the announcement of the Nobel Prize in Literature approaches, partisans of the Swedish poet Tomas Tranströmer hold a collective breath, hoping against hope. A win for their man is unlikely for a number of reasons. One is the residual fallout from 1974 when the Swedish Academy gave the prize to two of its own members, Harry Martinson and Eyvind Johnson. Both were fine writers, but the appearance of nepotism was impossible to avoid. No Swede—no Scandinavian—has won the prize since. There’s also the unfortunate fact that the choice of recipient often seems guided as much by politics as by literary considerations. Tranströmer is not an apolitical poet, but there is nothing about him—no confinement by the state, like Aleksandr Solzhenitsyn or Joseph Brodsky, no sense that he speaks for his people, like Heaney or Walcott, no rabid opposition to the United States, as with Pinter—to excite the more narrowly political (more...)

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