Tomas Tranströmer

Banquet speech

Monica Tranströmer’s speech on behalf of Nobel Laureate Tomas Tranströmer at the Nobel Banquet, 10 December 2011.

Your Majesties
Your Royal Highnesses
Ladies and Gentlemen

On behalf of my husband, Tomas Tranströmer, I want you to know how honored and how moved he is to receive the Nobel Prize.

Thank you Swedish Academy:
thank you for your courage and your beautiful prize citation.

Special thanks to all the translators, who work so hard for so little reward.
Your motivation is your curiosity and commitment.
It should be called love – the only realistic basis for translating poetry.

When Tomas was 16 he started writing along with some like-minded friends
When the lessons seemed more than usually trying,
they would pass notes and poems between them.

“What an impression those scribblings would make!” Tomas later wrote –
There is the fundamental situation of poetry.
The lesson of official life goes rumbling on.
We send inspired notes to each other.”

And to end, I will read one of Tomas’ poems – a short one – in English and in Swedish:

From March -79

Tired of all who come with words, words but no language
l went to the snow-covered island.
The wild does not have words.
The unwritten pages spread out on all sides!
I come upon the tracks of roe deer in the snow.
Language but no words.

Från mars -79

Trött på alla som kommer med ord, ord men inget språk
for jag till den snötäckta ön.
Det vilda har inga ord.
De oskrivna sidorna breder ut sig åt alla håll!
Jag stöter på spåren av rådjursklövar i snön.
Språk men inga ord.

Tack så mycket. Thank you.

Copyright © The Nobel Foundation 2011

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