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The Half-Finished Heaven: The Best Poems of Tomas Transtromer Paperback – October 1, 2001


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The Half-Finished Heaven: The Best Poems of Tomas Transtromer + The Great Enigma: New Collected Poems + Tomas Transtromer: Selected Poems, 1954-1986
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Product Details

  • Paperback: 122 pages
  • Publisher: Graywolf Press; 2nd prt. edition (October 1, 2001)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 1555973515
  • ISBN-13: 978-1555973513
  • Product Dimensions: 6 x 0.4 x 8.9 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 0.3 ounces (View shipping rates and policies)
  • Average Customer Review: 4.6 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (9 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #158,785 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

Editorial Reviews

From Publishers Weekly

Mystical, versatile and sad, the poems (in verse and prose) of Tomas Transtromer have made him Sweden's best-known living writer. Robert Bly (Eating the Honey of Words, etc.) has long championed Transtr”mer; his latest effort in this line is The Half-Finished Heaven: The Best Poems of Tomas Transtr”mer. Here are the dream and nightmare images that influenced U.S. poetry in the '60s, where "Moths settle down on the pane:/ small pale telegrams from the world." Here, too, are the brief, haunting works of more recent years: "I am carried inside/ my own shadow like a violin/ in its black case."

Copyright 2001 Cahners Business Information, Inc.

Review

"The poems of Tomas Tranströmer are points of entry 'upward into / the depths' of an imagination, a spirit that is regeneratively inventive, capacious, unillusioned, undaunted, admirable . . . This extraordinary collection of work by one of Sweden's greatest contemporary poets presents a rich sampling of verse published during the past five decades."—The New York Times Book Review

More About the Author

Tomas Tranströmer, 2011 recipient of the Nobel Prize for Literature, was born in Stockholm in 1931. He has written thirteen books of poems and is the recipient of such honors as the Neustadt International Prize for Literature, the Bonnier Award for Poetry, Germany's Petrarch Prize, the Bellman Prize, and the Swedish Academy's Nordic Prize. His poetry has been translated into over sixty languages. He lives in Stockholm with his wife Monica.

Customer Reviews

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Most Helpful Customer Reviews

48 of 49 people found the following review helpful By E. D. Hensley on December 28, 2007
Format: Paperback Verified Purchase
I knew little of Transtromer's work and nothing about him. Bly's translations are the best way to enter Mr. T's world, I think. I now have other translations. In some cases, 2 others of a poem for comparison. I do not know Swedish at all, although I would like to look at it sometime--but none of the books I have is bilingual. I don't miss it here. I can tell that Bly translates as he has elsewhere: he reads and receives the original poem and then writes a poem-to-poem translation, rather than word-for-word. I've found other parts that I prefer or find a bit more interesting in other translations, but for overall poem-ness and poetic satisfaction, I don't think Bly's can be beat. You know you're reading poetry, not simply translation. For those who'd like to compare and don't mind some overlap, I'd recommend Robin Fulton's collected poems The Great Enigma: New Collected Poems and Robert Hass's selected poems Tomas Transtromer: Selected Poems, 1954-1986. In some cases, you'll get 3 translations for triangulation. For me, I'm seeking out more of Bly's translations, many of which are out of print.
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20 of 21 people found the following review helpful By SUCCISA VIRESCIT on November 5, 2011
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Like most aging ex-English majors/literati caught up in just trying to stay afloat in this crazy economy, its hard enough to find the time to read much less stay abreast with the world of great literature. I heard about this Swedish poet who recently won the Nobel on NPR's "All Things Considered." Curious, I did an online search. The first poem (happened to be the one this collection is named for) and I was hooked. I have two volumes now, this one being my favorite. In these frantic, digitized, vampiric times, Transtromer's poems are an oasis of green pastures and still waters. And even though they are, in the words of English translator Robert Bly's excellent introduction to this volume, "mysterious because the images have traveled a long way to get here" they remain, at least I found them, curiously accessible. If you aren't into poetry (we should all make ourselves dabble at least as a intellectual and spiritual discipline) this book is worth giving a try. Put it by your bedside and, after prayers or even along with them, read one every night before turning off the light. (BTW, I am a Christian who takes Jesus, the Bible, the Church and my faith very seriously. I am not precisely sure where Transtromer is coming from in relation to spiritual matters, but his is at least, to paraphrase O'Connor, a very Christ and Holy Spirit-haunted world.
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8 of 9 people found the following review helpful By Lyuba on November 3, 2011
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I bought this collection of poems recently after Transtromer was awarded the Nobel Prize for Literature. Beautiful poems! The characters in his poems are so realistic and at the same time it feels like you are entering a dream.
As Transtromer says himself:"So much that can neither be written nor kept inside!"
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2 of 2 people found the following review helpful By Douglas Bass on February 28, 2012
Format: Paperback
What are you going to see as you read Robert Bly's translations of Tomas Transtrommer? You'll see the nature that was here a long time before your people (family, clan, nation) were here, and that will still be here a long time after your people have gone somewhere else. You'll see head-on what you usually see out of the corner of your eye. You'll see the mysterious, invading the everyday in a passionate tango, as if the mysterious and the everyday were mirror images of each other (are they?). Transtrommer's poems are the music of that tango. If you read one of these Transtrommer poems, and read it again sometime later, I believe you'll remember the first time you read the poem, as if the image lodged itself somewhere in the mind as something that needed to be remembered. This is not poetry you read to get a clever turn of phrase: this is poetry you read to open yourself as wide as the sky to the mystery of your life.
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4 of 5 people found the following review helpful By sarak on December 27, 2011
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Tomas Transtromer is an amazing poet - I'm so glad I bought this collection of poetry! I'd read about him in a few articles and couldn't find a good edition/translation for the longest time until I stumbled across this one. I'm so glad I picked it up!
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