Sweden’s Tomas Tranströmer was awarded the Noble Prize for Literature in 2011. I was lucky, however, to have found his poetry long ago, when a collect of Tranströmer’s poems was translated by Robert Bly and published by Bly’s Seventies Press.
His poetry is extremely difficult to categorize. As Bly put in the introduction to the collection noted above, Tranströmer 20 Poems: “He has a strange genius for the image — images come up almost effortlessly. The images flow upward like water rising in some lonely place, in the swamps, or deep fir woods.
This collection, published in 1970, is hard to find and now very expensive. But The Half-Finished Heaven: Selected Poems, Bly’s most current translation of Tranströmer, is readily available and includes a wide selection of his work. If you choose to read it, which I hope you do, I also hope you will like my favorite poems: “Track” and “Out in the Open.”
The Half-Finished Heaven: Selected Poems by Tomas Tranströmer translated by Robert Bly, Graywolf Press, 2017.