Saturday, September 23, 2006

Transtromer takes the Thumper

With sixty-two votes to John Ashbery's sixty-one, Tomas Transtromer has won this blog's 'Greatest Living Writer' poll by the skin of his teeth. A bottle of Old Thumper will be going in the mail to Stockholm as soon as I have the dosh. Don't hold yer breath, Tomas.

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...


Anonymous Anonymous said...

Could you please pass onto Jack Ross that I am in Auckland (I wish to sell my bees, which have gone beserk) and wish to meet, without switchblades or unecessary cussing.

I am yours etc
Sanjay Wells

10:46 am  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Write In Poll Option: Edward Said.

(Tell Jack Ross that he ought not to buy bees from Sanjay without first applying for a license to keep them.)

12:55 pm  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Oh and I emailed you, Scott.

12:57 pm  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Various causes for concern in this post -- first, the disquieting discovery that 17 people were prepared to vote for me in the first place (even if one or two of them might -- or might not -- have been me); second, the imputation that I'm giving to "unnecessary cussing", whereas I'm sure that all the cussing I do is quite justified; third, the notion that I might be a suitable person to take on a horde of unruly bees, with or without a licence ... I think the poor things might be spared that, at least.

9:56 am  

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