I put Tranströmer on my syllabus, and I chose “Gogol” to discuss in class. As a semiotician, I ignored the so-called interpretation (“what did the author want to say”) and focused on the form. I enjoyed it. I believe my students did as well. It's a luxury to spend a two-hour session on a single poem.
How do I feel now, re-reading Tranströmer, particularly the poem “From winter 1947”, quoted on his literary sign? I have no memory of this poem; it is like reading it for the first time, but I recognise the Tranströmean flow of language, still pleasurable for the ear, or maybe more pleasurable now that I have been away from the Swedish language for such a long time. I want to read it outloud. I read it outloud to my teddy-bear. I roll the words around in my mouth, savouring every sound. Imagery flashes in my mind. I want to read the poem more than once, like you listen to your favourite piece of music. I don't care what the author wanted to say.