Tomas Tranströmer was born on April 15, 1931, in Stockholm, Sweden. His grandfather and other, more distant ancestors were ship pilots, and his father was a journalist. When Tranströmer was a child, his parents were divorced; from that time onward, he had a very close relationship with his mother, whose death, many years later, affected him greatly. From 1960 to 1965, he served as a psychologist at Roxtuna, a prison for juvenile offenders; since 1967, he has lived in Västerås, where, until 1990, he worked with disabled persons. This position allowed him to devote more time to his wife and two daughters, to playing the piano, and especially to writing.
In his early sixties, Tranströmer published memoirs of his early and adolescent years. Here one learns of his formative and familial school experiences, his interests in entomology and natural history, the war, the extreme anxiety that pervaded his life for a brief period, and the influence that museums and libraries have exercised on him.