The Great Enigma: New Collected Poems
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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.
New Directions Publishing Corporation
October 17, 2006
6.0 X 0.8 X 9.1 inches | 0.95 pounds
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About the Author
Tomas Transtromer, recipient of the 2011 Nobel Prize for Literature, was born in Stockholm in 1931 and is a psychologist by profession. One of Sweden's most distinguished poets, he has also received the Bonnier Poetry Prize and the Petrarch Prize in Germany. He lives in Stockholm with his wife, Monica.
Robin Fulton, a Scottish poet and longtime resident of Norway, has been translating Tranströmer for over thirty-five years.
The books of his poetry on my shelves never remain unopened for long. I turn to him when I wish to come as close as possible to what cannot be said.--Teju Cole
Tomas Tranströmer's poetry permits us to be happily certain of our own uncertainties... Like the animals in Rilke's first sonnet to Orpheus, they are alive to the god's music.--Seamus Heaney