Faith on Friday: Finding Faith in a Nobel Prize Winner’s Poetry

565px-TranstroemerMy post is a day late, and will be short. I recently discovered the poetry of Tomas Transtromer, winner of the 2011 Nobel Prize for Literature. I learned about Transtromer when a quote from his work was shared with me by a poet friend who is contributing an essay to my upcoming anthology, A Second Blooming. Here’s what she shared:

I don’t know if we’re in the beginning or in the final stage.

This is so applicable to all of us who are experiencing new “bloomings” at various stages of our lives. More about Transtromer:

As Jennifer Whiting says in her work, “The Recognition of Faith in the Poetry of Tomas Transtromer,” her goal was to:

explore the theme of faith through three recognitions that repeatedly occur in Transtromer’s poetry: the recognition of the holy unseen as magnetic forces drawing human beings toward them, the recognition of the self as God’s unfolding creation, and the recognition of others and nature as fellow creation — that is, acts of ongoing creation.

Transtromer’s poetry doesn’t seem to be overtly religious, or even spiritual. But his words often speak universally to people who are in diverse places where faith is concerned. I like this one:

Two truths approach each other. One comes from inside, the other from outside, and where they meet we have a chance to catch sight of ourselves. (From “Preludes”)

My spiritual journey—especially over the past fifteen or twenty years—has been informed by psychology and art, and Transtromer’s work is infused with both of these. Want to read more about him? Here’s a good article from The New Yorker, right after he won the Nobel: “Miracle Speech: The Poetry of Tomas Transtromer,” by Teju Cole.


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