Tomas Tranströmer, from the Nobel website.

Getting to know your Nobel Laureate...

Late last night on the Scandinavian side of the world, the Nobel Prize Committee awarded the 2011 Prize in Literature to Tomas Tranströmer, making him the first Swede in more than thirty years to win a Nobel. Sweden's best-known poet and a psychologist specializing in juvenile offenders, Tranströmer made his debut on Sweden's literary scene when he was just 23 with with his 1954 collection "17 Poems." Over the next decade, he started to make a name for himself across the Atlantic, befriending poet Robert Bly and falling in with the "Deep Image" school of poetry. A perennial Nobel contender, British betting house Ladbrookes gave Tranströmer 7/1 odds of winning the prize.

Despite being translated into more than fifty languages, Tranströmer remains relatively unknown in the U.S. outside of poetry ciricles and in the offices of New Directions, Graywolf and Ecco, who have published translations of his work. (Farrar, Straus, Giroux is planning to release another of his collections, “The Deleted World,” before Christmas). Bloodaxe Books editor Neil Astley describes Tranströmer “a metaphysical visionary poet,” and Granta editor John Freeman characterized him as “to Sweden what Robert Frost was to America,” but to get a better sense of his work, read excerpts of The Great Enigma on our website, courtesy of New Directions.

Unnamed poet, with beard.

Swedish poet Tomas Tranströmer, whose work explores "themes of nature, isolation and identity" has won the 2011 Nobel Prize for Literature.

Ethan Nosowsky, most recently the editor-at-large of Graywolf Press and formerly of Farrar, Straus and Giroux and the Creative Capital Foundation, is now McSweeney’s editorial director.

In honor of the fortieth anniversary of Fear and Loathing in Las Vegas, Zach Baron heads to Sin City in search of Thompson’s ghost. “Writers only go to Las Vegas for one reason, really,” Baron writes in the first of his four-part series. “It is our World Series of Poker, except more pretentious.”

Hey, Richard Prince, what was it like to visit Bob Dylan’s studio? “I’m not going to tell you exactly where it was, but getting to his studio was like that scene in Goodfellas when Ray Liotta parks his car outside a nightclub... I think it’s Copacabana... and goes in a side entrance, down a hall past a lazy-ass watchman, into the kitchen, through another hallway, and out into the main room and ends up right next to the maître d’, who then ignores the people in line waiting to get in and hugs and kisses Ray and his girlfriend and shows them right down in front of the stage, where a small table, two chairs, and a plug-in lamp suddenly, miraculously, appear.”

The Digital Public Library of America is now live, and open for business.

Is it possible to impose a narrative on “digital pasts”? To sift through enormous amounts of data—what somebody Tweeted a year ago, where they checked in on FourSquare—and create what Clive Thompson calls “useful memories?” More companies think it is, Thompson argues in Wired, comparing the field to “geolocation as a Proustian cookie.”

The Poetry Foundation unearths Upton Uxbridge Underwood’s forgotten classic Poets Ranked by Beard Weight, which not only makes good on its title, but also presents its own system of beard classification.