They went with a poet. Last week the Swedish Academy announced that the 2011 Nobel Laureate in literature is Tomas Transtromer. The Swedish poet is little known outside of his country, but that does not diminish the quality of his work. After working as a juvenile psychologist, Mr. Transtromer shifted his full attention to poetry and spent six decades publishing gems that address modern man's interactions with nature, spirituality, and each other. The Swedish Academy's announcement stated he won "because through his condensed, translucent images, he gives us fresh access to reality."
Despite Mr. Transtromer's popularity in Sweden, the announcement came as somewhat of a surprise in the English-speaking world. Much of his work has been translated into English, but little of it remains in print. His American publishers are rushing to rerelease his work. The Austin Public Library will acquire more of his work as it becomes available.
The Great Enigma: New Selected Poems
In the meantime, we have numerous poetic works by Transtromer's longtime friend and translator Robert Bly. Bly is a Minnesota poet I first heard in high school and have enjoyed since.
Meditations on the Insatiable Soul
My Sentence was a Thousand Years of Joy
Talking into the Ear of a Donkey
The Night Abraham Called to the Stars