cover image The Blue House: Collected Works of Tomas Tranströmer

The Blue House: Collected Works of Tomas Tranströmer

Tomas Tranströmer, trans. from the Swedish by Patty Crane. Copper Canyon, $40 trade paper (536p) ISBN 978-1-55659-685-8

This posthumous collection by the Swedish Nobel laureate, who died in 2015, is a definitive gathering of his meditative wisdom, refreshing visionary lyrics, and rich landscape portraits, opening on his 1954 debut 17 Poems and ending with 2004’s The Great Enigma. Skillfully rendered in Crane’s translations, these frequently restrained poems are studded with unforgettable phrases, weaving music, mythology, and the personal like “small pale telegrams from the world.” Readers witness the evolution of Tranströmer’s mind and craft, as well as his obsession with the natural world: “The land and I sprang toward each other” (“Face to Face”). His is an inviting, quieting voice on the page that asks, “Are you coming along to my childhood?” (“Midday Thaw”). The reader is left feeling the weight of witness through Tranströmer’s sensory powers, which the poet wields for inspection: “We secretly milked the cosmos and survived.” This is a revelatory gathering from one of 20th-century poetry’s most enduring presences. (Sept.)