The Half-Finished Heaven


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 ...

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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 this cherished and invaluable collection.


Introduction: "Upward into the Depths" by Robert Bly



17 Poems (1954)

Secrets on the Road (1958)

The Half-Finished Heaven (1962)



The Man Awakened by a Song above His Roof



After the Attack

Balakirev's Dream (1905)

The Couple



The Tree and the Sky

A Winter Night

Dark Shape Swimming

The Half-Finished Heaven




Resonance and Footprints (1966)

Night Vision (1970)

Open and Closed Space

From an African Diary

Morning Bird Songs

Summer Grass

About History

After a Death

Under Pressure

Slow Music

Out in the Open


Breathing Space July

The Open Window


The Bookcase


Going with the Current


Night Duty

A Few Moments

The Name

Standing Up



Pathways (1973)

Truth Barriers (1978)


The Scattered Congregation

Snow-Melting Time, '66

Further In

Late May

December Evening, '72

Seeing through the Ground

Guard Duty

Along the Lines (Far North)

At Funchal (Island of Madeira)

Calling Home


For Mats and Laila

After a Long Dry Spell

A Place in the Woods

Street Crossing

Below Freezing

Start of a Late Autumn Novel

From the Winter of 1947

The Clearing




The Wild Market Square (1983)

For the Living and the Dead (1989)

Grief Gondola (1996)

From March '79

Fire Script

Black Postcards

Romanesque Arches

The Forgotten Commander


The Cuckoo

The Kingdom of Uncertainty

Three Stanzas

Two Cities

Island Life, 1860

April and Silence

Grief Gondola #2

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Editorial Reviews

From the Publisher
"The poems of Tomas Tranströmer are points of entry 'upward into / the depths' of an imagination, a spirit that is regeneratively inventive, capacious, unillusioned, undaunted, admirable . . . This extraordinary collection of work by one of Sweden's greatest contemporary poets presents a rich sampling of verse published during the past five decades."—The New York Times Book Review
Publishers Weekly
Mystical, versatile and sad, the poems (in verse and prose) of Tomas Transtromer have made him Sweden's best-known living writer. Robert Bly (Eating the Honey of Words, etc.) has long championed Transtr?mer; his latest effort in this line is The Half-Finished Heaven: The Best Poems of Tomas Transtr?mer. Here are the dream and nightmare images that influenced U.S. poetry in the '60s, where "Moths settle down on the pane:/ small pale telegrams from the world." Here, too, are the brief, haunting works of more recent years: "I am carried inside/ my own shadow like a violin/ in its black case." (Nov.) Copyright 2001 Cahners Business Information.
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Product Details

  • ISBN-13: 9781555973513
  • Publisher: Graywolf Press
  • Publication date: 10/3/2001
  • Edition number: 1
  • Pages: 97
  • Sales rank: 641,426
  • Product dimensions: 6.04 (w) x 8.99 (h) x 0.36 (d)

Meet the Author

Tomas Tranströmer was born in Stockholm, Sweden, in 1931, and spent his career as a psychologist. The author of a dozen books of poetry, Tranströmer is the most renowned Scandinavian poet since World War II. His poetry has been translated into more than fifty languages. In 2011, he received the Nobel Prize in Literature "because, through his condensed, translucent images, he gives us fresh access to reality." He has received numerous other honors, including the Neustadt International Prize for Literature, the Bonnier Award for Poetry, Germany's Petrach Prize, the Bellman Prize, the Swedish Academy's Nordic Prize, the August Prize, and a Special Lifetime Recognition Award from the Griffin Trust for Excellence in Poetry. He lives in Stockholm.

Robert Bly was born in 1926 in Minnesota. He is a poet, essayist, cultural critic, and translator. He is the author of more than thirty works of poetry, including Eating the Honey of Words: New and Selected Poems and The Light around the Body, which received the National Book Award. As the editor of the influential publications The Fifties and The Sixties, Bly introduced many American readers to important international poets, including Pablo Neruda, Tomas Tranströmer, Cesar Vallejo, and others. Bly lives in Minneapolis.

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First Chapter

The Half-Finished Heaven

By Robert Bly Tomas Transtromer

Graywolf Press

ISBN: 1-55597-351-5

Chapter One

Storm The man on a walk suddenly meets the old giant oak like an elk turned to stone with its enormous antlers against the dark green castle wall of the fall ocean. Storm from the north. It's nearly time for the rowanberries to ripen. Awake in the night he hears the constellations far above the oak stamping in their stalls. The Half-Finished Heaven Cowardice breaks off on its path. Anguish breaks off on its path. The vulture breaks off in its flight. The eager light runs into the open, even the ghosts take a drink. And our paintings see the air, red beasts of the ice-age studios. Everything starts to look around. We go out in the sun by hundreds. Every person is a half-open door leading to a room for everyone. The endless field under us. Water glitters between the trees. The lake is a window into the earth. Two Cities There is a stretch of water, a city on each side-one of them utterly dark, where enemies live. Lamps are burning in the other. The well-lit shore hypnotizes the dark shore. I swim out in a trance on the glittering dark water. A steady note of a tuba comes in. It's a friend's voice: "Take up your grave and walk."


Excerpted from The Half-Finished Heaven by Robert Bly Tomas Transtromer Excerpted by permission.
All rights reserved. No part of this excerpt may be reproduced or reprinted without permission in writing from the publisher.
Excerpts are provided by Dial-A-Book Inc. solely for the personal use of visitors to this web site.

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