Tomas Transtr?mer is a Swedish poet who is one of the strongest and most frequently honored artists of the time. Robin Fulton has translated and curated the bulk of Transtr?mer's published poems in this magnificent book THE GREAT ENIGMA: NEW COLLECTED POEMS and it is a rare treat. In one tome are some of the most moving conversations with and about nature this reader has ever read. Transtr?mer's ability to alter the landscape of the sea and the cliffs, the islands and havens, with an imagination that defies comparison: it is a staggering achievement.
Able to succeed in both the very short and the epic form, he finds those niches in our psyches and makes them into words we could never generate. 'It's spring and the air is very strong. I have graduated from
the university of oblivion and am as empty-handed as the shirt
on the clothesline.' Perhaps it is his training and practice as a psychologist that allows his entry into our heads the way few other poets can achieve. A solid (yet one of many equally powerful) examples would be the following 'Sailor's Yarn':
'There are bare winter days when the sea is kin to mountain
country, crouching in grey plumage, a grief minute blue,
long hours with waves like pale lynxes vainly seeking
hold in the beach gravel.
On such a day wrecks might come from the sea searching
for their owners, settling in the town's din, and drowned
crews blow landward, thinner than pipe smoke.
(The real lynxes are in the north, with sharpened claws
and dreaming eyes. In the north, where day lives in
a mine both day and night.
Where the sole survivor may sit at the borealis stove
and listen to the music of those frozen to death.)'
Few collections of poetry are as satisfying as this and to Robin Fulton's translations must go a lot of the credit. This book is stimulus for the adventurous imagination as well as for the lover of great sea songs. Highly recommended. Grady Harp
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Robert Taylor, January 13, 2007 (view all comments by Robert Taylor)
I have read his earlier works (and quoted from them) but not this collection. When I was lecturing in Stockholm they said that Transtromer was really Finnish but I don't recall why.
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"Review A Day"
by Chris Faatz, Powells.com,
"The Great Enigma is truly a fantastic book of poems, lovingly translated and rendered into English by Robin Fulton, and demonstrating a completely unique geography of the imagination that leaves the reader gasping, eagerly turning the page to discover the beauty and wonder of each new foray into language. And beautiful and wonderful they are." (read the entire Powells.com review)
The collected poems of one of the world's greatest living writers, Tomas Transtromer, available in this comprehensive edition.
A new collected volume from the Nobel Prize-winning poet, with over 30 poems never previously published together in English, including the 13 poems from the final Polish collection, Enough.
A new collected volume from the Nobel Prize–winning poet that includes, for the first time in English, all of the poems from her last Polish collection
One of Europe’s greatest recent poets is also its wisest, wittiest, and most accessible. Nobel Prize–winner Wislawa Szymborska draws us in with her unexpected, unassuming humor. Her elegant, precise poems pose questions we never thought to ask. “If you want the world in a nutshell,” a Polish critic remarks, “try Szymborska.” But the world held in these lapidary poems is larger than the one we thought we knew.
Carefully edited by her longtime, award-winning translator, Clare Cavanagh, the poems in Map trace Szymborska’s work until her death in 2012. Of the approximately two hundred and fifty poems included here, nearly forty are newly translated; thirteen represent the entirety of the poet’s last Polish collection, Enough, never before published in English.
Map is the first English publication of Szymborska’s work since the acclaimed Here, and it offers her devoted readers a welcome return to her “ironic elegance” (The New Yorker).
In day's first hours consciousness can grasp the world as the hand grips a sun-warmed stone.
Translated into fifty languages, the poetry of Tomas Transtromer has had a profound influence around the world, an influence that has steadily grown and has now attained a prominence comparable to that of Pablo Neruda's during his lifetime. But if Neruda is blazing fire, Transtromer is expanding ice. The Great Enigma: New Collected Poems gathers all the poems Tomas Transtromer has published, from his distinctive first collection in 1954, 17 Poems, through his epic poem Baltics ("my most consistent attempt to write music"), and The Sad Gondola, published six years after he suffered a debilitating stroke in 1990 ("I am carried in my shadow / like a violin / in its black case."), to his most recent slim book, The Great Enigma, published in Sweden in 2004. Also included is his prose-memoir Memories Look at Me, containing keys into his intensely spiritual, metaphysical poetry (like the brief passage of insect collecting on Runmaro Island when he was a teenager). Firmly rooted in the natural world, his work falls between dream and dream; it probes "the great unsolved love" with the opening up, through subtle modulations, of "concrete words."
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