Review of New Collected Poems, Tomas Tranströmer

Who really reads poetry nowadays?

Many people read poetry in their youth as they search for expressions of their emotions. In grief we return"

Many people read poetry in their youth when they are looking for an expression for all their intense emotions. In grief we return.

Many read the poems in obituaries, some of which may turn out mundane while others can capture the most intense feelings in the proximity of death.

One of last year's most popular Christmas gifts in Sweden was no doubt Tomas Tranströmer’s volume of collected poems, which had already been published for the author's 80th birthday in April 2011. In December the same year Tranströmer was awarded the Nobel Prize in literature. It's not often that one can so readily acquire a Nobel Prize laureate’s collected works before the award is given. It has the appearance of an ordinary novel, but poetry may be difficult to read, despite the simple words. This is hardly a book that you read from cover to cover without taking a break to really process the words' true meaning.

You can read poetry and interpret it in many ways depending on who you are. When I was in high school and we read poetry we were given a sheet of paper were all the metaphors were translated and most of what was analyzed discouraged from further explorations.

But you can also read poems the way my mother taught me to visit new museums: First, you go around and get a general view, then you return to the things that you found most interesting.

Many of us carry around bits and pieces of Tomas Tranströmer’s work that are important to us, although we may not remember or understand the specific poem in question. For example:

"Don't be ashamed of being human, be proud!
Inside you vault opens behind vault endlessly.
You will never be complete, that's how it’s meant to be."

But who remembers the entire poem "Romanesque arches"?

I begin an ambitious quest to read all the poems from the beginning. I honestly have to admit that most poems do not affect me much, then suddenly I’m caught by ”Preludes II”:

Two truths approach each other
One comes from within, / one comes from without - and where they meet you have the chance / to catch a look at yourself.

These sentences will probably be undersood by anyone without "translation". But the poem is otherwise open to interpretation, just as dreams are. My dreams will evoke completely different associations in me than they would in you, much like how we each read this poem differently.

Since the late 1990’s Tranströmer suffers from aphasia. Despite his disease he published his latest collection, "The Great Enigma: New Collected Poems” in 2004 (the English version was published in 2006), much thanks to the help of is wife. Many of the poems here have already become classics. For example, ”Snow is Falling”, where these few lines stick:

The funerals keep coming
more and more of them
like the traffic signs
as we approach a city.

The last part of the book contains poems about the Tranströmer’s years as a child and a teen in Stockholm. In short, concentrated stories a portrait of the young Tranströmer is painted before us. The stories are easy to read and unforgettable.

All in all, this is a book that you'll never finish. You will always be able to return to it and find something new.

Esther Hansen

Submitted: 29 maj 2012

 
 



Publications

New Collected Poems

by Tomas Tranströmer
Tomas Tranströmer is the 2011 Nobel Prize laureate in Literature. This books contains his collected work from his debut in 1954 with "17 Poems" to his most recent publications.

Books of special interest

The Merman

by Carl-Johan Vallgren
A story about the darkness that lives in all humans, even though most of us try to deny it.

Echoes from the Dead

by Johan Theorin
This is the first novel in the author’s planned quartet of books taking place on the Swedish island of Öland.

The Dogs of Riga

by Henning Mankell
The second book in the Kurt Wallander series.

Simon and the Oaks

by Marianne Fredriksson
A beautiful story about sons and their mothers.

New Collected Poems

by Tomas Tranströmer
Tomas Tranströmer is the 2011 Nobel Prize laureate in Literature. This books contains his collected work from his debut in 1954 with "17 Poems" to his most recent publications.

The Red Room

by August Strindberg
Criticizing the moral and hypocrisy in 1870s Stockholm.

Children's books

The Wonderful Adventures of Nils

by Selma Lagerlöf
“The Wonderful Adventures of Nils”, written in 1906 to 1907, came to be when Selma Lagerlöf was asked to write a book that could teach Swedish geography to school children.

Pippi Longstocking

by Astrid Lindgren
Pippi Longstocking lives alone in the big house “Villekulla“. Her father is busy pirating at sea and ruling as king of Kurrekurredutt Isle. But she is not lonely, as she has her friends Tommy and Annika, her horse Little buddy and her monkey Mr. Nilsson.

Bridget and the Moose Brothers

by Pija Lindenbaum
Bridget is all alone. She wants a sibling. A small one who can fit in her doll bed. Or maybe a big brother. Outside her building she meets the moose brothers and invites them to her room, having big plans to become their little sister.

When Owen's Mom Breathed Fire

by Pija Lindenbaum
Owen´s mom is always very busy. Every morning she is in a great hurry to get Owen up and to school and herself to work. But one day she has been turned into a big dragon and no longer knows how to be a mum.

The Diamond Mystery

by Martin Widmark
The first part in the popular series about Jerry and Maya, the children who are running their very own detective agency.

The Literary Magazine lists

Money

by Victoria Benedictsson
“Money” is Benedictsson's first novel, publish...

The Merman

by Carl-Johan Vallgren
Coming from a shattered family, the children Nella and Robert ...

Miss Julie

by August Strindberg
It’s Midsummer night in 1874 at a Count’s estate s...

The Red Room

by August Strindberg
First published in 1879, it received mixed reviews in Sweden, ...

New Collected Poems

by Tomas Tranströmer
Tomas Tranströmer is the 2011 Nobel Prize laureate in Lit...

The Dogs of Riga

by Henning Mankell
It’s the winter of 1991 and a small life raft with two d...

Italian Shoes

by Henning Mankell
On a small, isolated island in the Stockholm archipelago, Fred...

I Die, But the Memory Lives On

by Henning Mankell
A nonfictional fable about a growing tradition in countries in...

The Man from Beijing

by Henning Mankell
On a freezing day in January, a body is found in the snow in t...

The Ice Princess

by Camilla Läckberg
Published in 2002, this is Camilla Läckberg’s debut...

About The Literary Magazine

The Literary Magazine of Swedish books and writers – is a web-based literary magazine that specialises in Swedish literature. The Literary Magazine covers the latest in Swedish literature with articles and reviews.

The Literary Magazine is produced by the lagest Swedish literary magazine, LitteraturMagazinet, and based out of Stockholm, Sweden.

Follow us on Facebook, Twitter and subsribe to our newsletter

Newsletter
Facebook
 

Twitter

Latest reveiws

One of my absolute favorite book ever

Review: In the Blood by Lisa Unger

Theorin leaves you with a hunger for more

Review: Echoes from the Dead by Johan Theorin

Vallgren keeps the reader close

Review: The Merman by Carl-Johan Vallgren

A poetic masterpiece

Review: Blackwater by Kerstin Ekman

"Brilliant Larsson create brilliant Lisbeth Salander"

Review: The Girl With The Dragon Tattoo by Stieg Larsson

Current reveiws

One of my absolute favorite book ever

Review: In the Blood by Lisa Unger

Theorin leaves you with a hunger for more

Review: Echoes from the Dead by Johan Theorin

Who really reads poetry nowadays?

Review: New Collected Poems by Tomas Tranströmer

Vallgren keeps the reader close

Review: The Merman by Carl-Johan Vallgren

A poetic masterpiece

Review: Blackwater by Kerstin Ekman

Could not put them down

Review: Millennium trilogy by Stieg Larsson

hard to get started.......

Review: The Girl With The Dragon Tattoo by Stieg Larsson

Unbelievably great!

Review: Millennium trilogy by Stieg Larsson

Painfully real.

Review: Millennium trilogy by Stieg Larsson

My take on the Millenium Trilogy

Review: Millennium trilogy by Stieg Larsson

Better than a roller coaster ride

Review: Millennium trilogy by Stieg Larsson

Otstanding

Review: Millennium trilogy by Stieg Larsson

Page Turner, but... [WARNING SPOILER]

Review: The Girl With The Dragon Tattoo by Stieg Larsson

they were absoloutely magnificent

Review: Millennium trilogy by Stieg Larsson

A Brilliantly--engineered Novel

Review: The Girl With The Dragon Tattoo by Stieg Larsson

Great Book.

Review: The Girl With The Dragon Tattoo by Stieg Larsson

Excellent!!

Review: Millennium trilogy by Stieg Larsson

So sad

Review: Millennium trilogy by Stieg Larsson

Absolutely astounding. Nobel consideration should be given

Review: Millennium trilogy by Stieg Larsson

The most explosive character ever!

Review: The Girl With The Dragon Tattoo by Stieg Larsson

Vanger clan

Review: The Girl With The Dragon Tattoo by Stieg Larsson

Great writer

Review: The Girl Who Played with Fire by Stieg Larsson

Couldn't put it down

Review: The Girl With The Dragon Tattoo by Stieg Larsson

Exceptionell

Review: Millennium trilogy by Stieg Larsson

Another lost friend

Review: The Girl With The Dragon Tattoo by Stieg Larsson

I loved it !!!

Review: The Girl With The Dragon Tattoo by Stieg Larsson

I'm so sad it's over!

Review: The Girl With The Dragon Tattoo by Stieg Larsson

Millenium

Review: Millennium trilogy by Stieg Larsson

Gripping Contemporary Tale

Review: Millennium trilogy by Stieg Larsson

Perfect !

Review: Millennium trilogy by Stieg Larsson

Commuter Heaven

Review: Millennium trilogy by Stieg Larsson

Blips in translation

Review: Millennium trilogy by Stieg Larsson

An American Perspective

Review: Millennium trilogy by Stieg Larsson

The Millenium Trilogy

Review: Millennium trilogy by Stieg Larsson

The Millenium Trilogy

Review: Millennium trilogy by Stieg Larsson

Do Not Miss this Book!

Review: The Girl With The Dragon Tattoo by Stieg Larsson

Can't wait until 2010

Review: The Girl Who Kicked the Hornets' Nest by Stieg Larsson

Wanted: An Editor

Review: The Girl With The Dragon Tattoo by Stieg Larsson

Spanish version earlier!

Review: Millennium trilogy by Stieg Larsson

The best thriller I've read for a long long time!

Review: The Girl Who Played with Fire by Stieg Larsson

Far fetched

Review: The Girl Who Played with Fire by Stieg Larsson

Marital problems!

Review: The Girl With The Dragon Tattoo by Stieg Larsson

This one is for crime fiction buffs

Review: Millennium trilogy by Stieg Larsson

Simply Thrilling!

Review: Millennium trilogy by Stieg Larsson

The Grand Larsson

Review: The Girl With The Dragon Tattoo by Stieg Larsson

The girl who dreamt about an oil tin and a match

Review: The Girl Who Played with Fire by Stieg Larsson

Bring on the girl who played with fire!

Review: The Girl With The Dragon Tattoo by Stieg Larsson

Absolute page turner!

Review: The Girl With The Dragon Tattoo by Stieg Larsson

Started it in Rome finished in Vancouver!

Review: The Girl With The Dragon Tattoo by Stieg Larsson

"Brilliant Larsson create brilliant Lisbeth Salander"

Review: The Girl With The Dragon Tattoo by Stieg Larsson