March 17, 2007

Review: The Great Enigma: New Collected Poems

The Great Enigma
New Collected Poems
Translated by ROBIN FULTON
New Directions, $16.95 paper, ISBN 13978-0-8112-1672-2

This book gathers all the poems the great Swedish poet Tomas Transtromer has published, from his first book in 1954 to work written after a debilitating stroke in 1990. All twelve books are collected here, along with a new cycle of haiku poems. Transtromer has always been one of those poets who sees beyond things and creates through the immediate revelations of language. His work has been translated into English by several key American poets, but this is the best translation of his poetry because Fulton recreates Transtromer work in dynamic English poems that build image upon image, until the Swedish voice of experience becomes a universal call for discovery, reincarnation, and redemption.

by Ray Gonzalez