October 08, 2011

Nobel Prize in Literature announced!

So, Bob Dylan did not win the 2011 Nobel Prize in Literature, which went instead to another octagenarian poet, the Swedish writer Tomas Tranströmer. (Just kidding, Bob, I know you're only seventy.) As I had only read yesterday afternoon the post on The Guardian books blog which reported that the British bookmaker Ladbrokes was giving 5 to 1 odds on Dylan nabbing the prize, I hadn't even had time to decide whether I wanted him to (tending to think no, but open to discussion), or even to find out whether it was all a hoax or not.

I've just been doing a little reading up about this year's “Ladbrokes list”, as the list of favoured candidates and the odds on their winning which the company compiles every year is known among literary cognoscenti, looking for a clue. Bloomberg.com was an excellent source of information, including the nugget that the curator of the list is “a Swede named Magnus Puke, whose job title at Ladbrokes is Nordic Sports and Novelty Odds Compiler, and who writes love poetry in his spare time.”

This year Mr. Puke’s list had 77 candidates on it. At the top was the octagenarian Syrian poet Adonis as the most-favoured, followed by the octagenarian Swedish poet Tomas Tranströmer, followed by Haruki Murakami. The top English language contenders included Les Murray, Thomas Pynchon, Julian Barnes, Cormac McCarthy, John Banville, Don de Lillo and yes, Bob Dylan, at the time of that article being given odds of 25 to 1.

I am sure there is an apt line from a Bob Dylan lyric for this near-miss, but it isn’t popping into my mind. Maybe someone out there can suggest it. All I can come up with off the top of my head is “She knows there’s no success like failure, and that failure’s no success at all.”

So who is Tomas Tranströmer? He is Sweden’s most famous poet, translated into over 50 languages (I include this because I know what you are thinking). For a characterisation, I can relay from today’s newsfeed from The Guardian that he is known as a “Buzzard Poet”, “a term coined by a fellow-poet Lasse Söderberg to express how he views the world from a height, in a mystic dimension, while bringing every detail of the natural world into sharp focus. His poems are often explorations of the borderland between sleep and waking, between the conscious and unconscious states.”

Sounds good to me. The fantastic Central City Library basement has two collections of his poetry, which when I looked them up just now were both already winging their way out of the library to fill customer requests.

The great enigma: new collected poems from 2006
Selected poems, from 1981

Ditulis Oleh : tosca // 04:00


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