Transtromer takes the Thumper
After taking an early lead, our own Jack Ross finished with a disappointing seventeen votes, possibly as a result of the discovery of a naughty portrait of Auckland's most esteemed literary festival which he published very quietly several years ago. Despite his Nobel last year, Harold Pinter only took the bronze, but he will be cheered to see that two of his more obscure plays are being performed in Auckland at the moment. Orhan Pamuk struggled to get past Jack, let alone Tomas, but he has worse things to fret about. Stephen King came in last with a mere three votes, which cheered me immensely.
In case you still don't know anything about Tomas Transtromer's work, here's a poem, nearly forty years old now, translated by Robert Bly:
Breathing Space July
The man who lies on his back under huge trees
is also up in them. He branches out into thousands of tiny branches.
He sways back and forth,
he sits in a catapult chair that hurtles forward in slow motion.
The man who stands down at the dock screws up his eyes against the water.
Docks get older faster than men.
They have silver-gray posts and boulders in their gut.
The dazzling light drives straight in.
The man who spends the whole day in an open boat
moving over the luminous bays
will fall asleep at last inside the shade of his blue lamp
as the islands crawl like huge moths over the globe.
Jesus appears to have taken a very early lead in our new poll...