Swedish poet Tomas Tranströmer has been awarded the 2011 Nobel Prize for Literature.

The Nobel Committee said that he is awarded because, through his condensed, transluscent images, he gives us fresh access to reality.

Other poets, especially in the political 1970s, accused Tranströmer of standing apart from his tradition and not including political issues in his poems and novels. However, his clear, seemingly simple pictures from everyday life and nature, in particular, reveal a mystic insight into the universal aspects of the human mind, the committee said.

At the same time many critics have praised Tranströmer’s poems for their accessibility, even in translation, noting his elegant descriptions of long Swedish winters, the rhythm of the seasons and the palpable, atmospheric beauty of nature.

Tranströmer, 80, has written more than 15 collections of poetry, many of which have been translated into English and 60 other languages.

Being Sweden's most famous poet, he had been a favorite for the prize for so many years that even his countrymen had started to doubt whether he would ever win.

Asked how it felt to be the first Swede in four decades to win the literature prize, he told reporters: Very good.

He gave mostly one-syllable answers to questions, the result of a stroke more than two decades ago that left him partially paralyzed and largely unable to speak. His wife, Monica, filled in the details.

The final line of his poem, “Vermeer,” will stay with a reader forever. “I am not empty, I am open”