"Accessible" is sometimes considered a dirty word in the realm of poetry. While poets generally seek to communicate with readers rather than confuse them, poetry that finds a wide audience risks being perceived as bland and watered down, made palatable for the masses. How then, can a poet share his or her vision as clearly as possible while still retaining the mysterious, elusive quality that bypasses the logic of prose and that rewards repeated reading and reflection? Swedish Nobel Laureate in Poetry Tomas Tranströmer exemplifies this paradox in his crystalline juxtapositions of vivid images, straightforward language, and daring imaginative leaps that unite disparate elements.
When Tranströmer won the Nobel Prize in October 2011, he had been writing and publishing for over half a century. His work has displayed a remarkable consistency throughout the past sixty years, not...
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