Goodreads helps you keep track of books you want to read.
Start by marking “The Half-Finished Heaven” as Want to Read:
The Half-Finished Heaven
Enlarge cover
Rate this book
Clear rating
Open Preview

The Half-Finished Heaven

by
4.26 of 5 stars 4.26  ·  rating details  ·  281 ratings  ·  36 reviews
From the Winner of the 2011 Nobel Prize in Literature

The contemporary Swedish poet Tomas Tranströmer is a recipient of the Nobel Prize in Literature and has a prestigious worldwide reputation. Robert Bly, a longtime friend and confidant of Tranströmer's, as well as one of his first translators, has carefully chosen and translated the finest of Tranströmer's poems to create
...more
Paperback, 122 pages
Published October 1st 2001 by Graywolf Press (first published 1962)
more details... edit details

Friend Reviews

To see what your friends thought of this book, please sign up.

Reader Q&A

To ask other readers questions about The Half-Finished Heaven, please sign up.

Be the first to ask a question about The Half-Finished Heaven

The Complete Poems by Emily DickinsonLeaves of Grass by Walt WhitmanShakespeare's Sonnets by William ShakespeareThe Waste Land and Other Poems by T.S. EliotAriel by Sylvia Plath
Best Poetry Books
219th out of 1,494 books — 1,640 voters
They Won't Shut Up by Cindy J.  SmithMeeting With Christ and Other Poems by Deepak ChaswalVoices In My Head by Cindy J.  SmithFrom Where I Stand by Robert   ZimmermannA World of Verse by Christopher  Shields
Best Collection of Poems by Living Authors
92nd out of 326 books — 368 voters


More lists with this book...

Community Reviews

(showing 1-30 of 702)
filter  |  sort: default (?)  |  rating details
Peycho Kanev
I met him a few years ago when he was visiting his friend, one of the best Bulgarian poets Lyubomir Levchev.
We talked a little, I mean I talked, he was just listening. (Tranströmer suffered a stroke in 1990 that left him partially paralyzed and unable to speak.) Then he wrote on a napkin something that I will keep only for myself.
I still consider him one of the great poets I ever read. With Tomas Transtromer, there is no real comparison. He has been by far the most original, the most satisfyi
...more
Julie
On this final day of 2011, I share a transcendent poem:

From March '79

Being tired of people who come with words, but no speech,
I made my way to the snow-covered island.
The wild does not have words.
The pages free of handwriting stretched out on all sides!
I came upon the tracks of reindeer in the snow.
Speech but no words.


As we look back on a year of increased political polarization and as we anticipate the propagandizing and muck-racking misery of Campaign 2012 to come, Tomas Tranströmer's beauti
...more
Jsavett1
So there's always something of a philosophical quandary about reading poetry in translation. I tend, as a general rule, not to do it, though on some occasions have found reason to make an exception. Two such cases were the works of Wislawa Szymborska and Czeslaw Milosz. They just seemed too important to miss. And of course, the act of translating poetry is an art form unto itself. That's why I decided to get this particular version of Transtromer's "best" poems translated by Robert Bly, a poet w ...more
James Murphy
In a poem called "Allegro" Transtromer writes:

"The music is a house of glass standing on a slope,
rocks are flying, rocks are rolling.

The rocks roll straight through the house
but every pane of glass is still whole."

My response to this volume of poetry, I suppose. It doesn't speak to me distinctly. He voices a low murmur under his breath. I have trouble hearing. It would help if he'd sing a bit, break a few windows. But there's little music here.
Víctor Bermúdez
The good: El delicado prólogo de Robert Bly, "Upward into the Depths" es muy afortunado.
The bad: Se echa en falta el texto bilingüe, para no tener que acudir a otras ediciones. En el caso de Tranströmer, y particularmente si el lector desconoce la lengua sueca, encuentro especialmente útil 'ver' el poema original. La imagen del texto.
The gap: La selección es siempre subjetivamente insuficiente, aunque incluye textos fundamentales de la poética de Tranströmer como "The Half-Finished Heaven" o "M
...more
Emily
Transtromer writes poems that you would expect someone with a name like that to write. Magic spell poems. Cat watching you poems.


The Couple

They switch off the light and its white shade
glows for a instant and then dissolves
like a tablet in a glass of darkness. Then up.
The hotel walls rise into the black sky.

The movements of love have settled, and they sleep
but their most secret thoughts begin to meet
like two colors meet and flow together
on the wet paper in a schoolboy's painting.

It is dark and
...more
Luciano
Tomas Tranströmer es el poeta vivo más importante de Suecia y su nombre aparece todos los años en los medios como candidato al premio Nobel. Este libro es una antología de su trayectoria, desde su primera obra, 17 poemas, hasta su interés por los haikus, e incluye, además, su magnífica autobiografía.

Tranströmer ha compaginado durante toda su vida su trabajo de psicólogo en centros penitenciarios y hospitales con la escritura de poemas, intentando transmitir cierto orden al mundo. Con un estilo p
...more
Patti K
This volume of selected poems are from an earlier stage in Transtromer's
long career. The work here is nearly astounding with its silences and
nuanced wisdoms. Forthright yet magical at times, they each take the\
reader to another country or state of mind. Highly recommend.
Nathan Long
A quick perusal of my goodreads shelves says that it's been almost nine months since I last read a collection of poetry in its entirety. It's a major source of guilt. I always mean to read more poetry, I just have a hard time getting into collections. It requires more brain power than I'm often willing to exert to get through it.

Tranströmer is not hard to read at all. He'll focus all his poems around building up strong central images, then showing depth to them. He keeps them all sparse, and use
...more
Joe
You know a book of poetry has captured you when you end up writing poems of your own in the back pages, amongst the several dozen or so lines you've written out from the book so that you can remember them later. The images found by Transtomer are arresting and precise, honest enough to glue you to your subway seat, reading the same stanza over and over, trying to articulate the piercing truth you know you've already absorbed. There's little more I can describe; instead, I want to type out severa ...more
A.M.
Dec 04, 2011 A.M. rated it 4 of 5 stars
Shelves: poetry
I enjoyed this book of poetry though I am curious to read a different translation and will soon embark on his collected works by a different translator. Transtromer's poetry is especially perfect for this time of year - late fall into winter. I liked this line from the poem "The Half-Finished Heaven" - "The lake is a window into the earth." A number of other poems stood out for me, including "About History" (especially Section V), "Solitude," "Preludes," "The Name," "The Scattered Congregation" ...more
Patrick Mcgee
This was my first experience with Transtromer's work. His lyrical jumps are most impressive and his poems always surprising, complex, and rewarding. I give this book 4 stars more for the translation than the quality of Transtromer's poems. After picking up The Great Enigma (Transtromer's collected works translated by Robin Fulton) it is apparent that Bly's translation lacks, well...poetics. It feels more like a straight up literal translation than one completed by a poet. There is a big differen ...more
Philip
I think I prefer Robin Robertson's translations... but Transtromer relentlessly seeps through nonetheless.
Ann
"It is still beautiful to hear the heart beat/but often the shadow seems more real than the body./The samurai looks insignificant/beside his armor of black dragon scales." Transtromer, who rightfully won the 2011 Nobel Prize for Literature, writes about the void, the unknowable; but his poems are brilliantly quiet and seemingly unassuming. He's equally good at the lyric and the prose poem. I think Robert Bly is still Transtromer's best English translator. It's easy to feel that the best poems in ...more
Peter Milligan
My top ten book of poetry. Read this 1000 times!
William Reichard
A teacher of mine, the late John Engman, introduced me to Transtromer's work many years ago, and it's work that's stayed with me ever since. What draws me into the poems is their sense of wholeness, despite the fact that the narrative structures are often cracked, and odd, stray bits of other images or narratives seem to wander in. But they wander in so seamlessly! Reading Transtromer's work always inspires me. Robert Bly's translations keep the poems grounded - ordinary occurrences that take on ...more
Adam
Feb 26, 2012 Adam rated it 5 of 5 stars
Shelves: poetry
After finishing the book on an airplane, I cried. I was sad it was over and overwhelmed with how powerful the collection turned out to be. Maybe some of the best poetry I have read. Transformer and Bly move so deftly from one image to the next; the collection felt whole. I was fully engaged, almost lusting after the subtle moves the poems make. I imitated numerous poems, hoping for something to rub off on my own writing. I am buying more of his work tomorrow.
Edward Rathke
After reading this short selection of his poetry, I can see why he's a Nobel Laureate.

It's incredibly beautiful what he does throughout his career. He's rather inventive, too, sticking to no singular style but every poem remains very much him.

There's a gentleness, a sort of nostalgic longing, as well as that beauty found in impermanence.

Truly, some beautiful poems within.

Highly recommended.
Carrie
A gorgeous book. I'd love a different translation, though - a few lines words here and there seemed clunky, or just slightly off. Really lovely, quiet imagery
Aisha Al-sulaiti
قصائده تشبه القصص القصيرة, برع في تصوير الأشياء ونقل الاصوات والاشكال، لكن قصائده خاليه تقريبا من المشاعر.
Paul
May 23, 2014 Paul rated it 5 of 5 stars
Shelves: poetry
Tomas Transtromer: Shadower and Silencer. Speaker of the Sublime and the Subterranean. Speech Therapist.
Jimmy
May be the biggest disappointment of my poetic readings. If he won the Nobel Prize for literature, how did writers like John Updike and others not win it?

His work has been described as "the poetry of silence." I guess I need a hearing aid.
Valerie
Jan 15, 2013 Valerie rated it 4 of 5 stars
Recommended to Valerie by: Margareta
http://www.flickr.com/photos/7275613@...

actually 4.5....brilliant, but I struggle with poetry. This was a gift from my wonderful flickr friend, Margareta
Barbara
Moja najljubša zbirka poezije. Sporočila človeku, podata s preprostimi besedami, ki dolgo ostanejo nekje pri srcu. Čeprav sem jo prebrala že neštetokrat, zmeraj odkrijem kaj novega.
Tank Green
really beautiful poetry, although after having read several different translations by bly, i have to wonder how much of what i like is his...
Valeria
I was underwhelmed by this book. I am not sure if the translation wasn't successful or if the original text didn't click with me.
Sarah
This was an excellent book. Transtromer has a unique style and a wonderful sense of language. I highly recommend his work.
Maddelyn
the sea, the woods, the city streets -- and the most astounding imagery and similes I've ever seen...
g
Heady, hallucinogenic. Some wonderful lines: "We are at a party that doesn't love us."
« previous 1 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 23 24 next »
There are no discussion topics on this book yet. Be the first to start one »
  • Leaping Poetry: An Idea With Poems and Translations
  • Miracle Fair: Selected Poems
  • Late Wife
  • Nine Gates: Entering the Mind of Poetry
  • Fall Higher
  • The Gorgeous Nothings
  • The Poetry of Jaroslav Seifert
  • One Hundred Poems from the Chinese
  • Without End: New and Selected Poems
  • Incarnadine: Poems
  • Selected Poems
  • Selected Poems
  • Fuel
  • The End of the West
  • Duino Elegies/The Sonnets of Orpheus
  • The Battlefield Where the Moon Says I Love You
  • The Art of Losing: Poems of Grief and Healing
  • Delights & Shadows
446692
His poetry, building on Modernism, Expressionism, and Surrealism, contains powerful imagery concerned with issues of fragmentation and isolation. “He has perfected a particular kind of epiphanic lyric, often in quatrains, in which nature is the active, energizing subject, and the self (if the self is present at all) is the object,” notes critic Katie Peterson in the Boston Review.

Critic and poet
...more
More about Tomas Tranströmer...
The Great Enigma: New Collected Poems Selected Poems, 1954-1986 The Deleted World Memories Look at Me: A Memoir The Sorrow Gondola

Share This Book

“The storm puts its lips to the house and blows to make a sound.” 0 likes
More quotes…