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Swedish Poet Wins Nobel Literature Prize

Swedish poet Tomas Transtromer

Swedish poet Tomas Transtromer

Swedish poet Tomas Transtroemer has won the 2011 Nobel Prize for literature.

The Swedish Academy in its citation said the 80-year-old Transtromer was given the prize "because, through his condensed, translucent images, he gives us fresh access to reality."

Transtroemer was tipped as a potential Nobel Prize winner for many years and the journalists assembled to hear the announcement erupted in cheers.

The jury said most of Transtroemer's poetry collections were "characterized by economy, concreteness, and poignant metaphors."

Peter Englund, permanent secretary of the Swedish Academy, described to Swedish television how the 80-year-old poet had taken the news: "I think he was surprised, astonished," he said. "He sat relaxing and listening to music. But he said it was very good."

Sweden's most famous living poet suffered a stroke in 1990, which affected his ability to talk.

His most famous works include the 1966 "Windows and Stones," in which he depicts themes from his many travels, and "Baltics" from 1974.

His poems -- described by "Publishers Weekly" as "mystical, versatile, and sad" -- have been translated into more than 50 languages.

Born in April 1931 in Stockholm, Transtroemer graduated in psychology and later worked in an institution for juvenile offenders.

His first collection of poetry was published when he was 23.

In 1966 he received the Bellman Prize, one of many awards he has won over his long career.

The Nobel Foundation will present Transtroemer the $1.45 million award at a gala ceremony in Stockholm on December 10, the anniversary of the 1896 death of the prize creator, Swedish industrialist Alfred Nobel.

Last year, the Nobel Prize for literature went to Spanish-Peruvian author Mario Vargas Llosa.

with agency reports