2006 Göran Sonnevi, Sweden: Oceanen

2006 Göran Sonnevi, Sverige: Oceanen
Sara Mac Key

About the author

Göran Sonnevi was born in Lund and grew up in Halmstad. Göran Sonnevi made his literary debut in 1961 with his collection of poems Outfört. He is one Sweden’s most famous poets and has received various literary honours such as the Bellman Prize, Aftonbladet's poetry prize and the grand prize of the Nine Society.

About the winning piece

The Ocean was published in 2005 and, as indicated by its title, the collection of poems can be compared precisely to an ocean. Short poems shift like wave movements with long suites forming an ocean of words. Death is a central theme in the collection. Talks take place with the dead: the poet’s parents, friends and follow poets – Dante, Hölderlin, Blake. The Ocean is a type of poetry autobiography, spanning an as yet unfinished life. The Ocean is political, the commitment to the left wing being important as are objections and trials. The Ocean is critical, accusing ruthless exploitation and war, capitalism and imperialism. The Ocean is inviting in highlighting man’s responsible relationship with politics, morale and fellow humans. But, at the end, The Ocean is loving: mystically and erotically, emotionally and spiritually.

Oceanen (The Ocean)

Published by: Albert Bonnier's publishing company 

Publication year: 2005

This is what the Adjudicating Committee had to say

"The Ocean" is awash with words. You can submerge into them and let them swallow you up. It spans a life and a poetry which is still alive, is not over yet, and is still searching. Sonnevi writes poetry with an intense necessity, in constant dialogue with social and political events as well as dealing with personal issues like guilt and responsibility.