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Swedish poet Tomas Transtromer at his home in Stockholm on Thursday. AP photo by Fredrik Sandberg.
News of a Nobel Prize for Swedish poet Tomas Tranströmer was met with cheers in Minneapolis.
In 2001, Minneapolis-based Graywolf Press published “The Half-Finished Heaven, The Best Poems of Tomas Tranströmer,” a collection selected and translated by Minnesota poet Robert Bly. Alas, the Nobel announcement came at a moment when about 5,000 copies of the Graywolf book were in circulation. Normally, that might be a 10-year supply for a poetry book, but the Nobel creates abnormal demand.
By Thursday afternoon,"Heaven" had climbed into the top 20 on amazon.com, said Jeffrey Shotts a Graywolf senior editor who worked on the book.
Graywolf publisher Fiona McCrae said on Thursday that the book will get a reprint of 10,000 copies to meet immediate demand. A second reprint will follow.
Shotts said Micawbers bookstore in St. Paul was reporting "Tranströmer mania today," and that it was gratifying to see a poet win the Nobel, "the first time that has happened in 15 years."
The Nobel news delighted Shotts. “It has confirmed and celebrated what many have known for a long time — that Tomas Tranströmer sits alongside contemporary poets such as Seamus Heaney and Wislawa Szymborska as among our most essential global voices,” he said in a statement. “His writing is a powerful, psychological, probing of the landscapes, interior and otherwise, of a 20th-century Scandinavia that has survived war and disaster but also provides new possibilities.”
Bly, a longtime friend as well as one of Tranströmer’s first translators, chose what he viewed as the best of Tranströmer’s poems to fill “The Half-Finished Heaven.” In his introduction to the book, Bly wrote that Tranströmer “has a strange genius for the image; images rise seemingly without effort on his part.... His poems are a sort of railway station where trains that have come enormous distances stand briefly in the same building. One train may have some Russian snow on the undercarriage, and another may have Mediterranean flowers fresh in the compartments, and Ruhr soot on the roofs.”
Shott recalled a crowded event at the Swedish American Institute back in 2001 to mark the book's publication. "Bly was there," Shott said, "and then he read some poems in Swedish, which people loved."
"Young Adult," the new feature reuniting "Juno" screenwriter Diablo Cody's and director Jason Reitman, has its first poster. Like the teen novels it parodies, it's pretty and shiny and bubblegum pink and angsty like a Judy Blume bad dream. There's something about that blonde ragamuffin's posture that says "Ugggh...hung over...whose bed am I in?" rather than "Oh, I think I'll reach down and have a refreshing swig of Diet Coke." And that little purse dog's eyes? They just follow you.
The film, which shot on location in and around Minneapolis for two days last October, stars Charlize Theron as a divorced kids'-book writer stalking her old high school sweetheart (Patrick Wilson), who is now a married father. Patton Oswalt has a supporting role as an acquaintance who had a parallel crush on Theron's character, and Elizabeth Reaser plays Wilson's wife.
The movie's release date, Dec. 9 in major markets, with a nationwide opening the following week, indicates that Paramount Pictures has high commercial and critical expectations for the film. Fingers crossed.
Dessa is on the fall lineup at the Fitzgerald Theater in St. Paul.
Star Tribune photo by CARLOS GONZALEZ
Minnesota Public Radio has announced these artists and shows for the fall season at the Fitzgerald Theater in St. Paul. Tickets go on sale Aug. 30.
Cowboy poet, author and Morning Edition commentator Baxter Black, joined by Joe Savage and Starlight Trio, Becky Thompson and Pop Wagner. Oct. 13, 7 p.m., $30.
Rapper and writer Dessa, whose new CD is "Castor, The Twin," performs with guests Aby Wolf, Sean McPherson, Dustin Kiel and others. Oct. 28 at 7 p.m. $25.
TheMoth Radio Hour, a storytelling showcase. Nov. 11 at 7 p.m. $25.
Actor, comedian and author John Hodgman (above) plays a Wits Special edition, along with songwriter John Darnielle from The Mountain Goats. Nov. 18 at 8 p.m. $25
Violinist, mandolinist and "Prairie Home Companinon" regular Peter Ostroushko. Nov. 25 at 8 p.m. $34.
The New Standards Holiday Show. Dec. 2 & 3 at 8 p.m. $32.
"Of Mirth and Mischief," by Kevin Kling and Steve Kramer, directed by Peter Rothstein. Dec. 16-17 at 8 p.m. and Dec. 18 at 2 p.m. $20-$29.
Events take place at the Fitz, 10 E. Exchange St., St. Paul. 651-290-1200.
Roy McBride, 1943-2011 / photo by Media Mike Hazard
Poet, teacher, spoken-word artist and community activist Roy McBride, who died recently, will be remembered and feted by fellow writers and artists at a gatheinrg in Minneapolis.
The tribute is from 7 to 10 p.m. Friday, Aug. 12, at the Heart of the Beast Theater at 1500 E. Lake Street.
Among poets and musicians slated to perform at the event are Jeannie Piekos, Susu Jeffrey, J Otis Powell!, Maureen Skelly, Douglas Ewart, Mike Hazard, Kevin O'Rourke, Lyle Daggett, Ollie McNutt, Bluebelle the Vith, Tim Young, Mike Finley, Lydia Howell, Diego Vazquez Jr., Margaret Hasse, Jim Dochniak, David Rich, Shá Cage, e.g.bailey, Louis Alemayehu, Laurie Witzkowski and more.
Call 612-721-2535 for more information.
Below is a short poem by McBride.
who can neither
read nor write,
wears a pen-
in the pocket
of his Sunday coat.
when I was
in the fourth grade,
he watched me
do my homework,
rocking in his chair
by the stove.
“Son,” he said
with a smile,
got a nice hand,
a real nice hand.”
Diablo Cody is about to make her directing debut. Mandate Pictures has announced that the Oscar-winning “Juno” scribe will film her own original screenplay, a religiously themed comedy titled “Lamb of God.”
The studio provided this synopsis: “The comedy follows a young conservative religious woman who loses her faith after a plane crash, decides to go to Las Vegas to live the life of a sinner, and on her journey finds her way back to her faith.” Casting is said to be imminent.
The disappointment of Cody’s sophomore film, “Jennifer’s Body,” her rewrite of “Burlesque” and the recent cancellation of her TV show “The United States of Tara” after three seasons clearly haven’t dulled her appetite for a challenge. Posting about her directing debut, Cody mentioned that Jason Reitman (director of two Cody scripts, “Juno” and “Young Adult,” which debuts later this year) “predicted that the night shoots in Vegas will induce neon-sick delirium.”
In case "plane crash/heretic/sinner/Vegas" sounds a few yuks short of comedy gold, Cody reassuringly blogged that “Lamb of God” isn’t “the cynicism-fest implied by the log line. It’s a nice Christmas story.”