The Great Enigma by Tomas Transtromer
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."

About Tomas Transtromer

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Tomas Tranströmer was born in Stockholm in 1931. He has written eleven books of poetry and has received numerous international honors, including the Neustadt International Prize for Literature, the Bonnier Award for Poetry, Germany’s Petrarch Prize, the Bellman Prize, the Swedish Academy’s Nordic Prize and, in 2007, the Griffin Lifetime Recognition Award. In October 2011 he was awarded the Nobel Prize in Literature. He lives with his wife in Stockholm.Robin Robertson is from the north-east coast of Scotland. His fourth collection of poetry, The Wrecking Light, was published in 2010 and was shortlisted for the Costa, the T. S. Eliot and the Forward Prize. He compiled and edited Mortification: Writers’ Stories of their Public Shame and has translated Medea and the Bacchae by Euripides. He has received a number of accolades, including the E. M. Forster Award from the American Academy of Arts and Letters and won all three categories of the Forward Prize.
Published December 8, 2011 by New Directions. 287 pages
Genres: Literature & Fiction. Non-fiction

Unrated Critic Reviews for The Great Enigma

Publishers Weekly

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The major contemporary poet of Scandinavia, and a perennial Nobel Prize candidate (so rumor has it), Tranströmer and his compact, sometimes grim lyricism have long enjoyed a serious following in the United States.

Sep 18 2006 | Read Full Review of The Great Enigma: New Collect...

To read Tranströmer—the best times are at night, in silence, and alone—is to surrender to the far-fetched.

Oct 06 2011 | Read Full Review of The Great Enigma: New Collect...

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