2016 Katarina Frostenson, Sweden: Sånger och formler

2016 Katarina Frostenson, Sverige: Sånger och formler

About the author

Katarina Frostenson was born in 1953 and lives in Stockholm. She is a poet, prose writer, playwright, and translator, and since 1992 she has occupied chair number 18 of the Swedish Academy. Frostenson made her debut in 1978 with the poetry collection I mellan (in English “In between”). Since then she has published numerous collections of poetry, prose, translations, and essays. Her writing is multifaceted yet highly coherent. She has long been one of the most prominent figures in contemporary Swedish poetry – ever since she first appeared on the scene, really.

About the winning piece

Sånger och formler (in English “Songs and formulae”) (Wahlström & Widstrand 2015) is Katarina Frostenson’s latest poetry collection. The language assumes shape and body through the way Frostenson uses words, through her turning them over, looking for meanings and connotations as if the words and their ambiguity embody all the mystery of the world and of life itself. Readers quickly find themselves caught up in a story about life’s most physical and spiritual of visions, from a dizzying journey through the pigswill and bones and garbage of the sewers, by way of a beautifully sung hymn to the city of Minsk and the Belarusian language, of warm and love-filled poems to Marina Tsvetaeva, and of images of Stockholm’s suburbs and city centre, to the flaying and music and suffering that transform Marsyas.

Sånger och formler

Published by: Wahlström & Widstrand 

Publication year: 2015

This is what the Adjudicating Committee had to say

The winner of the Nordic Council Literature Prize 2016 has a long and complex lyrical oeuvre behind her. In this web of the contemporary and the mythological, of perspectives both local and global, and of the tangible everyday and travels through memories, literature and songs, she has achieved a cohesion crystallised through her keen focus on the details. Katarina Frostenson’s collection of poems “Sånger och formler” is a story of life’s physical and spiritual revelations, about the little things and the big things, and about humanity in the world. In her poetry – so apparently tight, yet actually very spacious – there are constant transformations portraying life’s multifaceted oddity.