tomas tranströmer: turning words into birds the balde   I  ilustrazioa: txo!? When summer reaches the north, the snow melts and, from time to time, corpses appear at road sides. During winter storms, drunks out in the open air, people going for walks and lost drivers become invisible under the blanket of snow. Until the birds start singing again.
A flood of dark novels has come our way in recent years from those frozen, white lands. There is, however, another type of literature on the endless Scandinavian plain. Tomas Tranströmer (Stockholm, 1931) is Sweden's most important contemporary poet. He always comes up on the list of candidates to win the Nobel prize but he probably won't ever win it because he's Swedish. Not that he needs it. Tranströmer is probably immortal.

The writer Tranströmer is well-known in the north of Europe. He is a real literary symbol. However, he has always combined his writing with other jobs. He has never wanted to be a professional writer. Tranströmer has been a prison and hospital psychologist throughout his life. The idea of reinsertion in society is important in both his work and his poetry. In Tranströmer's work the collisions between society and the environment, which are so common in the northern countries, appear time after time. However, compared with some other writers Tranströmer is no pessimist. Although the world is difficult to understand, he does see it as society's natural surroundings. Rather than embittering him, the things he's seen in his profession and the personal problems he's had in recent years (mobility problems have confined him to a wheelchair) have offered him the chance to look at small, everyday things and reflect on them. Tranströmer is writer who takes the side of hope, and that distinguishes him from Ingmar Bergman and other contemporary authors. Tranströmer is a poet. Poetry is what he writes mostly, although he has offered us essays too: "Everything makes sense inside a poem. Words are like jellyfish that look like flowers behind a funeral at sea: when we take them out of the water they lose all their shape, like an indiscriminate truth when we tear it from silence".

face to face

February stayed still when it was alive.
The birds refused to fly and the soul
tore up the landscape
like tied-up boats turning their moorings into water.

The trees turned their backs on us.
The height of the snow was measured by reeds.
Footsteps grew old under the ice.
Language melted under an awning.

One day something came up to the window.
I stopped working and looked at it.
Colours on fire. Everything turned around.
The world and I leapt against each other.

March 79

Without language and
tired of words and of words that come from everything
I head off for an island covered in snow.
Wild animals don't have words.
Sheets with no writing on them spread out in all directions.
I find roe deers' hoof prints in the snow,
it's a language, but there are no words.