karol wojtyla | song of the brightness of water | refrain

17 04 2008

Poetry Dispatch No. 228 | April 17, 2008

Song of the Brightness of Water

From the depth—I came only to draw water
in a jug—so long ago, this brightness
still clings to my eyes—the perception I found,
and so much empty space, my own,
reflected in the well.

Yet it is good. I can never take all of you
into me. Stay then as mirror in the well.
Leaves and flowers remain, and each astonished gaze
brings them down
to my eyes transfixed more by light
than by sorrow.


When I think, my Country, I look for a road running upward,
like a high-voltage current cutting through slopes. This road
is in each of us, steep and upward, not allowing us to stop.

The road follows the same slopes, returns to the same places,
becomes a great silence visiting the tired lungs of my land
evening after evening.

Ed. Note: From THE PLACE WITHIN translated by Jerzy Peterkiewicz, Random House, 1982, $12.95

Karol Wojtyla was born in 1920 in Wadowice, Poland. After studying literature and drama in Kracow, in worked in a stone quarry and a chemical plant before he began studying for the priesthood in1942. He was ordained in 1946 and in l958 was named bishop of Kracow. He became archbishop in 1964 and a cardinal in l978. On October 16, 1978, Wojtyla was elected pope. He took the name John Paul II, in honor of his short-lived and much loved predecessor, John Paul I. It was only after he was elected pope that his poetry came to world-wide attention. Norbert Blei

jonathan williams

13 04 2008

Jonathan Williams | Photo: Reuben Cox

NOTES from the UNDERGROUND… No. 137 | April 13, 2008


I’m not sure how many writers and artists of today’s generation ever heard of JARGON and Jonathan Williams.

I never heard of him either when I began writing, until one day I received a letter from him telling me how much he admired a short story of mine, “The Hour of the Sunshine Now,” which appeared in The Minnesota Review back in…? …1968!

(I just found a copy in my files, after an hour’s search…Vol VIII, Number 2. It’s been years. Alvin Greenberg was the editor…Charles Baxter was on the editorial staff…I remember an editor, Lyn Heath, extraordinarily helpful, insightful. Margaret Randall’s in here, Dane Wakoski, Gerald Locklin, Henry H. Roth, Robert Creeley, Richard Howard, the great English writer, Colin Wilson!…among other.)

I remember thanking Williams, being much more aware of him as a publisher from that point on…but through the years, gradually losing track of him and all that he was doing. I had bigger fish to fry, of course. We all do when starting out. But I was both saddened and surprised to learn of his death the other day. More sorry than ever that I did not acknowledge him more. Support his press, etc. Hell, I had no idea he was still alive. That’s how easily we forget even the slightest pat on the head.

This obit by Dennis Hevesi is a wonderful tribute to Williams and all that he did in his own small way from a very small corner of America. A shame, “if the truth be known” it too often becomes known when it’s almost no matter to anyone. This small publisher’s life should be a reminder to many of us concerned about the many dead-ends in the arts today, including American publishing, that we need to continue in Jonathan Williams’ way, keep the real work alive, honor the tradition of giving light wherever and whenever it is needed. A little self-sacrifice goes a long way in the end. Norbert Blei

Death of a Small Press Publisher By DENNIS HEVESI

Jonathan Williams, the founder of the Jargon Society, the small publishing house in the western mountains of North Carolina that for more than 50 years has introduced the works of unknown, little-known and soon-to-be-better-known writers, photographers and artists, died on March 16 in Highlands, N.C. He was 79 and lived and worked in Scaly Moun¬tain, N.C. The cause was pneumonia, said Thomas Meyer, Mr. Williams’s companion for more than 40 years. Mr. Williams was himself a poet, essayist, photographer and graphic artist — talents he brought to the meticulously refined design of the approximately 100 books of avant-garde poetry and fiction, folk art and photography that Jargon has published since 1952.

“The face he presented to the world was of an irascible crank, a loose cannon, a gadfly,” Mr. Meyer said. “But as a publisher he was extraordinarily generous, always looking for the overlooked.” Among the writers whose ca¬reers budded or bloomed through Mr. Williams’s attention were James Broughton, Basil Bunting, Robert Creeley, Robert Duncan, Denise Levertov, Paul Metcalf, Lorine Niedecker, Charles Olson and Louis Zukofsky. A book- length poem about the history of industrialization by the futurist Buckminster Fuller was published by Mr. Williams in 1962. Hugh Kenner, a Canadian literary critic, once called Mr. Williams “the truffle hound of American poetry.”

In the early 1950s Mr. Williams turned down Alien Ginsberg’s “Howl,” which became a Beat Generation classic. He had no regrets. “If Jargon had published it,” he told The New York Times in 1976, “it would have sold 300 copies.” Artists and photographers whose work has been highlighted in Jargon books include Harry Callahan, R. B. Kitaj, Ralph Eugene Meatyard and Robert Rauschenberg. Mr. Rauschenberg, the acclaimed Pop artist, was barely known in 1952 when he painted swirling arrows to illustrate “The Dancer,” a poem by Joel Oppenheimer, published by Jargon.

Mr. Williams was an early champion of outsider art — works by those, mostly self-taught, who are outside the artis¬tic establishment and away from art-world centers and might use materials like corrugated roofing, plywood or rug remnants. “Although he lived in Manhattan and also San Francisco in the mid-50s, he felt there was this whole vibrant culture outside of cities,” Mr. Meyer said. Noted outsider artists shown in Jargon books include Thornton Dial and Howard Finster. In his own writings and photographs, published by other small-press houses and in periodicals, Mr. Williams delved into his diversity of passions: long distance hiking, Appalachian plant life, civil rights, vernacular variations, English parish churches, graveyards, Chinese porcelains, Japanese poetry, French haute cuisine, corn bread and barbecue.

His curmudgeonly affinity for the low-brow led, in 1986, to the publication by Jargon of Ernest, Mickler’s “White Trash Cook¬ing,” with recipes for delicacies like cooter pie, okra omelets and potato-chip sandwiches. New York publishers initially declined to buy the manuscript unless the author changed the title to some¬thing like “Poor Southern Cook¬ing.” When Mr. Mickler refused, Mr. Williams gave him a $1,000 advance and ordered a modest 5,000-copy first printing. It was a best seller and was the only seriously profitable Jargon publication.

Jonathan Chamberlain Williams was born in Asheville, N.C., on March 8,1929, the only child of Thomas and Georgette Chamberlain Williams. When he was a child, the family moved to Washington. Mr. Williams dropped out of Princeton after his freshman year and began independently studying painting, etching, photography and book design. In 1951 he went to Black Mountain College, a hive of creativity outside Asheville, and came under the tutelage of the poet Charles Olson. Mr. Olson urged students in his poetry class to go beyond the writing on the page. Mr. Williams took him at his word. He started what became Jargon on campus. In 1968, with a grant from the National Endowment for the Arts, it became a nonprofit corporation.

At different times Mr. Williams offered different mottos for Jargon. In 1956 he told The Times it was, “Wanted, 500 readers.” Two decades later he said it was, “One poet’s way of doing something for other poets.”

[Source: New York Times 3.30.08]

Jonathan Williams | Photo: Doug Moore

kristin thacher | the drought poems

10 04 2008

Kristin ThacherWhirlwind – Honorable Mention Award

Poetry Dispatch No. 227 | April 10, 2008

Kristin Thacher

Kris Thacher is a potter and poet who lives off the grid in the mountains of northern New Mexico. She knows drought, she knows water, she knows earth, she knows green. Above all she understand the complexities of the human condition and has the words and hands to give her world and ours shape.

The following poems are from a work in progress, THE DROUGHT POEMS, a number of which appear in the recent anthology, OTHER VOICES.

The manuscript remains ‘in progress.’ Norbert Blei

In the First Year of the Drought

In the first year
Of the drought,
The Rain became
The Land’s teenage daughter,
Full of broken promises.

“Believe me, It will rain on Wednesday!”
but on Wednesday, another scorcher.
Heat waves cursed their way
out of angry rocks.

“I’ll be there-early in the afternoon…”
but after a smirking sundown,
another hot black night
sniggered behind the tepid moon.

“I promise, I’ll be back by dark!”
but late winds emptied the evening sky.
Is that the sound of rain on the roof?
No, just a dust devil hurling sticks and stones.

“I’ll be there on time. Don’t worry!”
but after five months of damp excuses
the Land stopped listening
and locked the door.

Spring’s wise flowers refused to uncoil
Or rise from the spurned Land
Shamed by the Rain’s lies
And the dishonor of Drought.

The Mystery at Night with You

It is evening.

We are watching TV.
We are watching a mystery
about a police detective whose wife was murdered.
The detective is obsessed with finding her killer.
He has photos of the crime scene
taped all over the back wall of his garage.
It looks like a stalker’s sacrificial alter.
I say it looks like he killed her.
You say, No, it doesn’t.
If someone murdered you,
I would do that,
assemble all the clues
become obsessed
with finding the killer.
I think
you have missed all the clues.
We are watching TV.
We are watching a mystery.

It is evening.

The Food of Love

At the end of the day
she wanted to ask him
if they would ever
fuck again.

He tramped in the kitchen
with the mail, just more bills,
and the bag of groceries,
just more chicken.

He was getting bald,
love handles and a belly,
but who was she
to talk.

She began to baste the chicken thighs
with Hawaiian barbeque sauce,
sweet and tangy, hint of oranges,
just enough sugar, just enough sass.

Before she replaced the cap
her tongue mindlessly licked
dripping spicy sauce running thick
down the twisting ridges of the bottle neck.

She licked her lips.
He said, Don’t do that. It’s disgusting.
If you do that again,
I’ll get my own bottle of sauce.

She stopped and looked up.
She put the bottle down.
She wiped it clean with soapy water,
rinsed, dried, replaced it on the shelf in the fridge.

The answer was
They weren’t.
The chicken was done.

Fighting the Drought

I smear on
invisible war paint
eye defense gel
age defying créme
skin therapy
sheer body oil
radiant hands cream
all natural moisturizing formulas
rich in aloe and vitamin e
secret luxurious softness
long-lasting texture improvers
blemish bleaching
wrinkle removers
and walk out over the hill
into the desert
of old age.

from OTHER VOICES, Works in Progress, Cross+Roads Press, 2007]

odysseas elytis | calendar of an invisible april

8 04 2008
Poetry Dispatch No. 226 | April 4, 2008

Odysseas Elytis

The Nobel Prize for Literature committee is often criticized (even condemned in some circles) for not always doing the obvious: bestowing honor and recognition on authors many of us, especially here in America, are familiar with. I won’t go into the long list of America writers alone who, in the minds of many knowledgeable people, should have won the Nobel Prize in literature but never did. (Norman Mailer, for one, comes to mind). But we sometimes forget the existence and role of the writer in other cultures. In many countries, a more honorable and recognized a calling than the American scene where the writer has been pretty much reduced to a huckster, from TV talk shows to endless book tours, his success depending on just about everything else than whom he speaks for from his heart and whatever art he may have achieved in a lifetime of learning to say it well.

I have always welcomed the Nobel Prize committee’s contrary nature and particular insight in plucking some totally unknown foreign author (to us), thrusting that author into the world spotlight, giving him/her the attention so well deserved, even though their work may have been barely been translated into a handful of languages.

I remember the Nobel Prize for Literature going to the Greek poet, Odysseas Elytis in 1979 and saying to myself: Odysseas, who? How do they find these writers?

But the more unknown, the more obscure the writer, the more likely I am these days to purchase his or her book immediately—if an English translation exists.

Here is Elytis in prose and poetry. I think you will see why the committee bestowed the world class honor upon him in 1979. Norbert Blei

“Europeans and Westerners always find mystery in obscurity, in the night, while we Greeks find it in light, which is for us an absolute. To illustrate this I give three images. I tell how once, at high noon, I saw a lizard climb upon a stone (it was unafraid since I stood stock-still, ceasing even to breathe) and then, in broad daylight, commence a veritable dance, with a multitude of tiny movements, in honor of light. There and then I deeply sensed the mystery of light. At another time I experienced this mystery while at sea between the islands of Naxos and Paros. Suddenly in the distance I saw dolphins that approached and passed us, leaping above the water to the height of our deck. The final image is that of a young woman on whose naked breast a butterfly descended one day at noon while cicadas filled the air with their noise. This was for me another revelation of the mystery of light. It is a mystery which I think we Greeks can fully grasp and present. It may be something unique to this place. Perhaps it can be best understood here, and poetry can reveal it to the entire world.” –Odysseus Elytis

Calendar of an Invisible April by Odysseas Elytis

Translation from Greek: Marios Dikaiakos

“The wind was whistling continuously, it was
getting darker, and that distant voice was
incessantly reaching my ears : “an entire life”…
“an entire life”…
On the opposite wall, the shadows of the
trees were playing cinema”

“It seems that somewhere people are celebrating;
although there are no houses or human beings
I can listen to guitars and other laughters which
are not nearby

Maybe far away, within the ashes of heavens
Andromeda, the Bear, or the Virgin…

I wonder; is loneliness the same, all over the
worlds ? ”


“Almond-shaped, elongated eyes, lips; perfumes stemming
from a premature sky of great feminine delicacy
and fatal drunkeness.

I leant on my side -almost fell- onto the
hymns to the Virgin and the cold of spacious

Prepared for the worst.”


“FRIDAY, 10c

LATE MIDNIGHT my room is moving in the
neighborhood shining like an emerald.
Someone searches it, but truth eludes him
constantly. How to imagine that it is
placed lower

Much lower

That death too, has its own Red sea.”



Odysseas Elytis (Greek: Οδυσσέας Ελύτης) (November 2, 1911—March 18, 1996) is a legendary Greek poet,regarded as one of the most important representatives of romantic modernism in Greece and the world. In 1979 he was awarded the Nobel Prize in Literature.

Descendant of the Alepoudhelis, an old industrial family from Lesbos, he was born in Heraklion (Candia) on the island of Crete, 2 November 1911. His family was later relocated to Athens permanently, where the poet completed his high school studies and later attended courses as an auditor at the Law School at Athens University. In 1935, Elytis published his first poem in the journal New Letters (Νέα Γράμματα) at the prompting of such friends as George Seferis. His entry with a distinctively earthy and original form assisted to inaugurate a new era in Greek poetry and its subsequent reform after the Second World War.Elytis chose exile in Paris for a greater part Greece’s military dictatorship in 1967.He fled to Paris in the late sixties and was romantically linked to the lyricist and musicologist Mariannina Kriezi. Elytis was vehemently private and purposely solitary in pursuing his ideal of poetic truth and the poetic experience.

In 1937 he served his military requirements. Being selected as an army cadet, he joined the National Military School in Corfu. During the war he was appointed Second Lieutenant, placed initially at the 1st Army Corps Headquarters to later be transferred at the 24th Regiment, on the first-line of the battlefields. Elytis was sporadically publishing poetry and essays after his initial foray into the literary world. He was a member of the Association of Greek Art Critics, AICA-Hellas, International Association of Art Critics.

He has twice been Programme Director of the Greek National Radio Foundation (1945-46 and 1953-54), Member of the Greek National Theatre’s Administrative Council, President of the Administrative Council of the Greek Radio and Television as well as Member of the Consultative Committee of the Greek National Tourist’s Organisation on the Athens Festival. In 1960 he was awarded the First State Poetry Prize, in 1965 the Order of the Phoenix and in 1975 he was awarded the Doctor Honoris Causa in the Faculty of Philosophy at the Thessaloniki University and received the Honorary Citizenship of the Town of Mytilene.

During the years 1948-1952 and 1969-1972 he settled in Paris. There, he audited philology and literature seminars at the Sorbonne and was well received by the pioneers of the world’s avant-garde (Reverdy, Breton, Tzara, Ungaretti, Matisse, Picasso, Chagall, Giacometti) as Tériade’s most respected friend. Teriade was simultaneously in Paris publishing works with all the renowned artists and philosophers (Kostas Axelos, Jean Paul Sartre,Francoise Gilot, Rene Daumal…) of the time. Elytis and Teriade had formed a strong friendship that solidified in 1939 with the publication of Elytis first book of poetry entitled “Orientations”. Both Elytis and Teriade hailed from Lesbos and had a mutual love of the Greek painter Theophilos. Starting from Paris he travelled and subsequently visited Switzerland, England, Italy and Spain. In 1948 he was the representative of Greece at the International Meetings of Geneva, in 1949 at the Founding Congress of the International Art Critics Union in Paris and in 1962 at the Incontro Romano della Cultura in Rome. In 1961, upon an invitation of the State Department, he traveled through the U.S.A.; and —upon similar invitations— through the Soviet Union in 1963 and Bulgaria in 1965.

Odysseas Elytis had been completing plans to travel overseas when he died in Athens at the age of 84. He was survived by his niece Myrsene and his older brother Evangelos, who was bestowed the writ of condolence from the mayor of Athens on behalf of the nation at the funeral.

Elytis’ poetry has marked, through an active presence of over forty years, a broad spectrum of subject matter and stylistic touch with an emphasis on the expression of that which is rarified and passionate. He did derive certain elements from Ancient Greece and Byzantium but devoted himself exclusively to today’s Hellenism, of which he attempted —in a certain way based on psychical and sentimental aspects— to reconstruct a modernist mythology for the institutions. His main endeavour was to rid people’s conscience from unjustifiable remorses and to complement natural elements through ethical powers, to achieve the highest possible transparency in expression and finally, to succeed in approaching the mystery of light, the metaphysics of the sun of which he was a “worshiper” -idolater by his own definition. A parallel manner concerning technique resulted in introducing the inner architecture, which is evident in a great many poems of his; mainly in the phenomenal landmark work Worthy It Is (Το Άξιον Εστί). This work due to its setting to music by Mikis Theodorakis as an oratorio, is a revered anthem whose verse is sung by all Greeks for all injustice, resistance and for its sheer beauty and musicality of form. Elytis’ theoretical and philosophical ideas have been expressed in a series of essays under the title The Open Papers (Ανοιχτά Χαρτιά). Besides creating poetry he applied himself to translating poetry and theatre as well as creating a series of collage pictures. Translations of his poetry have been published as autonomous books, in anthologies or in periodicals in eleven languages.


  • * Orientations (Προσανατολισμοί, 1939)
  • * Sun The First Together With Variations on A Sunbeam (Ηλιος ο πρώτος, παραλλαγές πάνω σε μιαν αχτίδα, 1943)
  • * An Heroic And Funeral Chant For The Lieutenant Lost In Albania (Άσμα ηρωικό και πένθιμο για τον χαμένο ανθυπολοχαγό της Αλβανίας, 1946)
  • * To Axion Esti—It Is Worthy (Το Άξιον Εστί, 1959)
  • * Six Plus One Remorses For The Sky (Έξη και μια τύψεις για τον ουρανό, 1960)
  • * The Light Tree And The Fourteenth Beauty (Το φωτόδεντρο και η δέκατη τέταρτη ομορφιά, 1972)
  • * The Sovereign Sun (Ο ήλιος ο ηλιάτορας, 1971)
  • * The Trills Of Love (Τα Ρω του Έρωτα, 1973)
  • * The Monogram (Το Μονόγραμμα, 1972)
  • * Step-Poems (Τα Ετεροθαλή, 1974)
  • * Signalbook (Σηματολόγιον, 1977)
  • * Maria Nefeli (Μαρία Νεφέλη, 1978)
  • * Three Poems under a Flag of Convenience (Τρία ποιήματα με σημαία ευκαιρίας 1982)
  • * Diary of an Invisible April (Ημερολόγιο ενός αθέατου Απριλίου, 1984)
  • * Krinagoras (Κριναγόρας, 1987)
  • * The Little Mariner (Ο Μικρός Ναυτίλος, 1988)
  • * The Elegies of Oxopetra (Τα Ελεγεία της Οξώπετρας, 1991)
  • * West of Sadness (Δυτικά της λύπης, 1995)

Prose, essays

  • * The True Face and Lyrical Bravery of Andreas Kalvos (Η Αληθινή φυσιογνωμία και η λυρική τόλμη του Ανδρέα Κάλβου, 1942)
  • * 2×7 e (collection of small essays) (2χ7 ε (συλλογή μικρών δοκιμίων))
  • * (Offering) My Cards To Sight (Ανοιχτά χαρτιά (συλλογή κειμένων), 1973)
  • * The Painter Theophilos (Ο ζωγράφος Θεόφιλος, 1973)
  • * The Magic Of Papadiamantis (Η μαγεία του Παπαδιαμάντη, 1975)
  • * Reference to Andreas Empeirikos (Αναφορά στον Ανδρέα Εμπειρίκο, 1977)
  • * The Public ones and the Private ones (Τα Δημόσια και τα Ιδιωτικά, 1990)
  • * Private Way (Ιδιωτική Οδός, 1990)
  • * «Εν λευκώ» (συλλογή κειμένων), (1992)
  • * The Garden with the Illusions (Ο κήπος με τις αυταπάτες, 1995)


  • * Second Writing (Δεύτερη γραφή, 1976)
  • * Sappho (Σαπφώ)
  • * The Apocalypse (by John) (Η αποκάλυψη, 1985)

Reference works

  • * Mario Vitti: Odysseus Elytis. Literature 1935-1971 (Icaros 1977)
  • * Tasos Lignadis: Elytis’ Axion Esti (1972)
  • * Lili Zografos: Elytis – The Sun Drinker (1972); as well as the special issue of the American magazine Books Abroad dedicated to the work of Elytis (Autumn 1975. Norman, Oklahoma, U.S.A.)
  • * Odysseas Elytis: Anthologies of Light. Ed. I. Ivask (1981)
  • * A. Decavalles: Maria Nefeli and the Changeful Sameness of Elytis’ Variations on a theme (1982)
  • * E. Keeley: Elytis and the Greek Tradition (1983)
  • * Ph. Sherrard: Odysseus Elytis and the Discovery of Greece, in Journal of Modern Greek Studies, 1(2), 1983
  • * K. Malkoff: Eliot and Elytis: Poet of Time, Poet of Space, in Comparative Literature, 36(3), 1984
  • * A. Decavalles: Odysseus Elytis in the 1980s, in World Literature Today, 62(l), 1988

Translations of Elytis’ work

  • * Poesie. Procedute dal Canto eroico e funebre per il sottotenente caduto in Albania. Trad. Mario Vitti (Roma. Il Presente. 1952)
  • * 21 Poesie. Trad. Vicenzo Rotolo (Palermo. Istituto Siciliano di Studi Bizantini e Neoellenici. 1968)
  • * Poèmes. Trad. Robert Levesque (1945)
  • * Six plus un remords pourle ciel. Trad. F. B. Mache (Fata Morgana. Montpellier 1977)
  • * Korper des Sommers. Übers. Barbara Schlörb (St. Gallen 1960)
  • * Sieben nächtliche Siebenzeiler. Übers. Günter Dietz (Darmstadt 1966)
  • * To Axion Esti – Gepriesen sei. Übers. Güinter Dietz (Hamburg 1969)
  • * The Axion Esti. Trans. Edmund Keeley and G. Savidis (Pittsburgh, U.S.A. 1974)
  • * The Sovereign Sun. Trans. Kimon Friar (Philadelphia, U.S.A. 1974)
  • * Selected poems. Ed. E. Keeley and Ph. Sherrard (1981)

tomas tranströmer | april and silence

3 04 2008


Poetry Dispatch No. 225 | April 3, 2008


Poets, writers, friends, readers…if you do not have at least one book by the Swedish poet, Tomas Tranströmer on your shelves, your library is incomplete. Norbert Blei


April and Silence by Tomas Tranströmer

Spring lies deserted.
The dark velvet ditch
creeps by my side
not reflecting anything.

All that shines
are yellow flowers.

I am carried in my shadow
like a violin
in its black case.

All I want to say
gleams out of reach
like the silver
in a pawnshop

[translated by Malena Mörling]


Tomas Tranströmer (born April 15, 1931) is a Swedish writer, poet and translator, whose poetry has been deeply influential in Sweden, as well as around the world.

Tranströmer received his secondary education at the Södra Latin School in Stockholm and graduated as a psychologist from Stockholm University in 1956. He began writing at thirteen, and published his first collection of poems, 17 dikter (Seventeen Poems) in 1954. His latest collection, Den stora gåtan (The Great Enigma), was published in 2004, and an English translation of his entire body of work, The Great Enigma: New Collected Poems, was published in 2006. He published a short autobiography, Minnena ser mig (The memories are watching me), in 1993.

Other poets – especially in the “political” 70’s – accused him for being apart from his tradition and not including political issues in his poems and novels. His work, though, lies within and further develops the Modernist and Expressionist/Surrealist language of 20th century poetry; his clear, seemingly simple pictures from everyday life and nature in particular reveals a mystic insight to the universal aspects of the human mind.

Tranströmer and the American poet Robert Bly are close friends and their correspondence has been published in the book Air Mail.

In 1990, he suffered a stroke that affects his speech, but he continues to write. He has often been mentioned as a candidate for the Nobel Prize in Literature, and many consider him one of Sweden’s foremost poets. Tranströmer’s awards include the Bonnier Award for Poetry, the Neustadt International Prize for Literature, the Oevralids Prize, the Petrach Prize in Germany, and the Swedish Award from International Poetry Forum. His poetry has been translated into fifty languages; Bly, Robin Fulton, and the prominent American blues writer Samuel Charters have translated his work into English.

In 2007, Tranströmer received a special Lifetime Recognition Award given by the trustees of the Griffin Trust for Excellence in Poetry, which also awards the annual Griffin Poetry Prize.

In addition to his work as a writer, Tranströmer was also a respected psychologist before he had his stroke. He worked in juvenile prisons, and with disabled, convicts, and drug addicts. He is also a good piano player, something he has been able to continue after his stroke, albeit with one hand.

Collected poems

  • * 17 dikter (1954) – Seventeen Poems
  • * Hemligheter på vägen (1958)
  • * Den halvfärdiga himlen (1962) – The Half-Finished Heaven
  • * Klanger och spår (1966) – Windows and Stones
  • * Mörkerseende (1970) – Night Vision
  • * Stigar (1973) – Paths
  • * Östersjöar (1974) – Baltics
  • * Sanningsbarriären (1978)
  • * Det vilda torget (1983)
  • * För levande och döda (1989) – For the Living and the Dead
  • * Sorgegondolen (1996)
  • * Den stora gåtan (2004)
  • * The Great Enigma: New Collected Poems (2006) – Translated by Robin Fulton


norbert blei | special delivery

2 04 2008


Poetry Dispatch: SPECIAL DELIVERY | April 1, 2008







Just click here and you will be good !