Harry Martinson (1904-1978) grew up in Jämshög, Blekinge, in southwest Sweden. When he was six his father died and then his mother departed to the USA, leaving him and his sisters as ‘parish orphans’, fostered out to various families. His escape from this was to sail the oceans from 1920 to 1927. Returning to his native tracts, he eventually became one of the best known writers of his generation, his prose and verse appealing widely, both to academics and to the ‘common’ reader.
His election to The Swedish Academy in 1949 was seen as a gesture towards a generation of more or less self-educated working-class writers, and he shared the 1974 Nobel Prize for Literature with novelist Eyvind Johnson. Harry Martinson died in 1978. Chickweed Wintergreen: Selected Poems, translated by Robin Fulton with an introduction by Staffan Söderblom, was published by Bloodaxe Books in 2010.
-from Robin Fulton’s introduction in MPT Series 3/8 ‘Getting it Across’