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The Great Enigma: New Collected Poems

4.3  ·  Rating details ·  950 Ratings  ·  78 Reviews
The Collected Poems of one of the world's greatest living writers, Tomas Tranströmer, now available in this comprehensive edition.

In day's first hours consciousness can grasp the world
as the hand grips a sun-warmed stone.

Translated into fifty languages, the poetry of Tomas Tranströmer has had a profound influence around the world, an influence that has steadily grown and h
Paperback, 288 pages
Published October 17th 2006 by New Directions
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Oct 15, 2011 rated it it was amazing
This collection of poetry, from the whole of Transtromer's career, more than justifies the stamp of "Nobel Prize Winner" that is printed on the cover. Shamefully, I had never heard of this Swedish born poet until the week before he won the prize. I had read an article that highlighted him as a frontrunner for the prize this year and I began to seek out his poetry. It took a bit of patience, and I urge anyone to first flip around in the book for awhile until they find the right poem that speaks t ...more
Sep 20, 2017 rated it it was amazing
Language beyond speech...
Jul 06, 2014 rated it really liked it
Tomas Transtromer is the kind of poet I ought to love. For one thing, he has a gift for coming up with extended metaphors that ring entirely true and yet are so deliciously fresh that you can almost smell them:

“At road’s end I see power
and it’s like an onion
with overlapping faces
coming loose one by one..."

Transtromer's gift for conjuring outlandish-yet-precise metaphors reminded me of Yehuda Amichai, long one of my favorite poets. It also reminded me of Aristotle, who, in his Poetics, praised su
Roger Brunyate
May 17, 2016 rated it really liked it
In the Comet's Tail

How can you write about a poet without quoting? And if he has already achieved such extreme compression of ideas as 2011 Nobelist Tomas Tranströmer has, what can more words add? So I will try to use his own words as much as possible, starting with a complete poem, "Eagle Rock," from his last published collection (The Great Enigma, 2004):
Behind the vivarium glass
the reptiles

A woman hangs up washing
in the silence.
Death is becalmed.

In the depths of the ground
my sou
Petya Kokudeva
Mar 24, 2013 rated it it was amazing
Чела съм части от тази книга на английски, сега, за радост, поживях в нея и на български. По какво долових, че ме е доближила съвсем и съм я заобичала дори повече, отколкото предполагам.

Първо. Не мога да чета, без да подчертавам. Не знам защо, все едно не чета органично и нямам контакт, ако не пиша, подчертавам и рисувам на места. НО ТАЗИ КНИГА аз направо я илюстрирах - сега гледам, какво ли няма - човечета с щръкнали коси (тях ги ползвам като NB), детелини, вълни, пр. Явно толкова ме е придърп
PGR Nair
Oct 06, 2011 rated it it was amazing

PGR Nair

The poet Tomas Transtromer has finally tasted triumph by winning the Nobel Prize for literature for 2011. The Swedish Academy praised Mr. Tranströmer, saying that “through his condensed, translucent images, he gives us fresh access to reality.” This is absolutely true of his serene poetry.

The 80-year-old Tomas Transtromer is one of the greatest Scandinavian poets and has had a profound influence in the literary world as Sweden’s most imp
Dec 13, 2011 rated it really liked it
Shelves: poetry
My only regret after finishing this fascinating book of poetry is that I would have read the very last chapter, a prose memoir piece called "Memories of Me," prior to reading any of the poetry. I encourage new readers of this book to read the last chapter first. Transtromer's poetry is beautiful but abstruse, his images powerful but multi-layered. At times, I felt as if I were reading a poetic form of stream-of-consciousness, or a transcription from a hypnotic state of mind. In his memoir, Trans ...more
Many times, looking for some wild nature poetry that would say what I felt better than I could, plus something extra, I read bits of Ted Hughes. I was nearly always disappointed. What I was looking for, it turns out nearly four years after I first noted this book on Goodreads, was Tranströmer.
[BTW, I too find the name difficult to say on its own without inwardly singing the notes of the Transformers theme. But at least we've got that out of the way now.]
This Swedish Nobel Prize winner's poems,
Feb 20, 2012 rated it it was amazing
Seeing as this is poetry, I don't read straight through it as I would prose, so to be honest I haven't completely finished this book, but I've read enough of it in my opinion to have "read" it.
Tomas Transtroemer is phenomenal. Rarely have I found language so powerful and intimate that resonates as deeply within me as Transtroemer's work does. The Blue House on page 169 is probably my favorite poem, at least currently. I'm crazy about the line "I am grateful for this life! But still I miss the al
Aug 01, 2013 rated it really liked it
Out on doorstep. Morning is beating, beats on
ocean’s granite gateways and sun is sparkling
near the world. Half-smothered, the gods of summer
fumble in sea mist.
Jan 25, 2018 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: nature
The forest is full of abandoned monsters which I love.

Creo que leí algo de Tranströmer cuando ganó el Nobel porque entonces trabajaba en una librería, pero no me acuerdo de casi nada de esa primera colección que se tradujo al español. En todo caso, qué bueno que volví a él y esta vez puse atención, hubiera sido muy triste perderme de estos poemas. Regularmente leo poesía tomándome mi tiempo, alternando con otros libros, pero con esta colección fue imposible parar, sentía que leía un diario y e
Oct 08, 2017 rated it it was amazing
Shelves: poetry, i-own
i must go out - the greenery is dense
with memories

super mooie bundel
Peycho Kanev
Dec 20, 2010 rated it it was amazing
Shelves: poetry
Голямата загадка Тумас Транстрьомер

Още в началото на XX век големият норвежки писател Кнут Хамсун възкликва: „Научих толкова много от шведската поезия и най-вече от поетите й от новото поколение.” Тук е мястото да призная, че не съм задълбочен изследовател и познавач на шведската поезия, но мога да твърдя, че също съм научил много от поетите на тази държава, които съм чел в превод на английски. Такива като Хари Едмунд Мартинсон, Гунар Екельоф, Дан Андершон и Ялмар Гулберг.
Но има един шведски пое
Feb 07, 2013 marked it as to-read
I can not comprehend how Is it possible not to get lost and how to find truth?
As you mentioned "truth is when outer and inner truth are getting closer to each other and when they cross each other you find the truth tou find yourself."
Is it possible? We still are searching for truth but when we reach our gates, find out that in front of this beautiful and grotesque gate we are standing alone.
Where are they?
They are standing in front of their gates of truth. it is an unfinished short story by K
Jun 02, 2012 rated it liked it
Shelves: 2012
Really loved Transtromer's work. He's a Swedish poet whose work has been translated into over 50 languages. He's won the Nobel prize. His work is amazing- he's a plain language poet, who writes both about nature and the urban cityscape. His images were dark and haunting, but easy to understand.

Really loved this. I'm glad that I decided to explore Swedish writers as part of my research for my upcoming trip.
Mar 19, 2012 rated it it was amazing
Poems should be experienced, not talked about. But I will say that these austere, quiet poems from the Nobel Prize winner bring a vision of a lonely soul communing with nature and trying to understand the vagaries of his fellow human beings. A haiku from the "Sad Gondola" series seems to sum up his world view:

Oak trees and the moon.
Light. Silent constellations.
And the cold ocean.
Nov 06, 2011 rated it it was amazing
Shelves: favorites
Tranströmer has managed to capture all of my most private, profound thoughts, wrap them up in loving words, and send them back to me. The Blue House in particular has great significance for me: "It’s always so early in here, before the crossroads, before the irrevocable choices. Thank you for this life! Still I miss the alternatives. The sketches, all of them, want to become real."
Dec 04, 2007 rated it liked it
Recommended to S. by: Michi G.
Shelves: poetry, read-in-2008
I haven't actually "read" the whole book, but finished most of it and found it rather slow going. Although I appreciate Tranströmer, I find it often hard to connect. I'm sure the failure is all mine...
Ajai   Mangattu

One of the wonderful books of poems I have read recently.

Not for speed reading. Wait for lonely nights. Patience will be answered.

It s complicated, dense with unmeasured depths. It s for wandering souls

Jun 17, 2012 rated it it was amazing
Shelves: poetry
Amazing collection. A brilliant poet. Luminous and powerful, attentive to those moments when the world unravels itself for us...
Peter B
Dec 04, 2017 rated it really liked it
I have no doubt that I’ve lost a lot of the formal significance in translation but the fresh arrangement of ideas and references is very pleasing, pure at their best. Is the “unusual” lack of punctuation an
innovative in Swedish or the norm? The title is Collected not Selected - can this really be all the man published? The anthologies seem very short...or is this the Swedish tradition?

However, for all my fussing, the collection pleased me greatly. A book to go back to.
Imen Benyoub
Mar 06, 2017 rated it liked it
3,75 stars..

Memories look at me

A June morning, too soon to wake
Too late to fall asleep again.

I must go out_the greenery is dense
With memories, they follow me with their gaze.

They can't be seen, they merge into
The background, true chameleons.

They are so close that I can hear them breathe
though the birdsong is deafening.
Dec 02, 2017 rated it really liked it
Shelves: nobel-laureates
I liked the first 1/3 best. Although none of these poems were *bad* the middle ones did not shine much. I feel like the was starting to come back around towards the end, though. Maybe all poets should take a sabbatical between the ages of 30 and 50.
Mar 14, 2018 rated it liked it
lovely existential poems like an Ingmar Bergman film.
May 04, 2018 rated it liked it
Very pretty images of Sweden and other places. Not my favorite poems, but nice enough. He has an impressive command of language.
Toon Pepermans
Oct 16, 2017 rated it liked it
Shelves: poetry
Jan 16, 2018 rated it it was amazing
A wonderful accounting of the Swedish poet's work. Magnificent in their capturing of landscape and season, small moments and quietness.
Hasan Makhzoum
Jan 15, 2014 rated it really liked it
To me, reading Tranströmer's poetry is like taking a long solo ride in my car, on a rainy cold winter day, while listening to Jazz music (say, the sensual voices of Karen Souza and Diana Kroll).. In Transtromer's verses, accessible images cope with vague subconscious impressions, like rain drops and steam spots on the window's glass blurring the view of a road, of mountains and trees in the countryside, of buildings and crowds in the city.. the poet's' self interchangeably bathed in the light an ...more
Jan 17, 2017 rated it really liked it
Some quite good poetry here but it would've been nice if each translation was accompanied by its original Swedish version as I think some of the rhythm was lost in English (the haikus especially).
Scott Cox
Perhaps it is not fair to compare poets and poetry - - especially poetry that has been translated into English from another language. However I cannot help but compare the poetry of Tomas Tranströmer with that of the recently deceased Wislawa Szymborska. Similarities? Yes. Differences? Many. This is one of the few collections I've read where I wish I had read the book's epilogue first, which in this translation contains the author's memoirs. I would have learned about Tranströmer's love for natu ...more
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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 about Tomas Tranströmer
“I wrote so meagerly to you. But what I couldn't write
swelled and swelled like an old-fashioned airship
and drifted away at last through the night sky.”
“Every abstract picture of the world is as impossible as a blueprint of a storm,” 10 likes
More quotes…