Spring 2013 • Vol. XXXV No. 2 Poetry |

Conflict

From the Swedish   After a political argument or wrangle, I become lonesome. An empty chair opens out into the night sky. There is no way back. My friend leaves the house. A heavy moving van rumbles by on the road. My eyes rest there like wide-awake stones.   A note on these translations by Thomas R. Smith, editor of Airmail: The Letters of Robert Bly and Tomas Tranströmer (forthcoming 2013, Graywolf Press). When the original version of Airmail: The Letters of Robert Ely and Tomas Tranströmer became a bestseller in Sweden in 2001, it contained a number of Tranströmer poems—in Swedish, of course—which had never been translated by Robert Bly, and thus are not found in his Tranströmer volume, The Half-Finished Heaven, published by Graywolf Press. When it came time to ready the expanded English-language version of Airmail for publication, Bly took up the task of translating these poems. Poems already existing in others' translations, but first appearing here

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Tomas Tranströmer, one of Sweden’s most important poets, has sold thousands of volumes in his native country, and his work has been translated into more than fifty languages. His books of poetry in English include The Sorrow Gondola (Green Integer, 2010); New Collected Poems (Bloodaxe Books, 2011); The Great Enigma: New Collected Poems (New Directions, 2003); The Half-Finished Heaven (2001); New Collected Poems (1997); For the Living and the Dead (1995); Baltics (1974); Paths (1973); Windows and Stones (1972), an International Poetry Forum selection and a runner-up for the National Book Award for translation; The Half-Finished Sky (1962); and Seventeen Poems (1954).
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Robert Bly is the author of many books of poetry and translation. His recent collection is Talking into the Ear of a Donkey (Norton). He lives in Minneapolis with his wife, Ruth.

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