A Lyrical View of Sweden

I have just traveled through Sweden with a Nobel laureate. It was a delightful, if at times puzzling journey. Here is my Goodreads review:

Windows and Stones: Selected PoemsWindows and Stones: Selected Poems by Tomas Tranströmer
My rating: 4 of 5 stars

Windows and Stones: Selected Poems by Tomas Tranströmer is a collection of his poetry from different eras. Reading the translator’s preface, I realized how sad I was about not being able to read them in the original Swedish, as the words seem so lyrical. I hate that I am not getting the auditory feel for the poems he intended. I may actually find recordings of him reading some of these so that I can have that, now that I know what the poems actually say.

The poems in this collection are full of powerful imagery. I feel that I have visited Sweden, with its water, blazing sun, deep forests, dark nights. It was a gorgeous trip. Tomas Tranströmer also does a wonderful job of capturing moments of sleeping and waking. I loved this ending from Nocturne (which I loved as a whole):
I lie down ready for sleep, I see the queerest pictures
and signs that scrawl themselves behind my eyelids
on the dark’s wall. In a slot between waking and dream
a very large envelope tries in vain to push itself through.

Overall, I was relieved to find this collection working its way from more recent work back to the poet’s earlier writing. I think I am not bright enough to follow the recent poems, but starting at about 1962, the poetry began to make more sense, and the transitions between images felt enlightening rather than befuddling. I am glad to have had a chance to experience this Nobelist’s work and to have seen Sweden through such perceptive eyes!

View all my reviews

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About Beth Parks Aronson

I am Associate Professor of Psychology at Lamar University. Previously, I was a psychologist in private practice in Jenkintown, PA where I specialized in anxiety disorders and working with people living with chronic and life-threatening illnesses. I am a little addicted to good literature. Ok, a lot addicted.
This entry was posted in Around the World 2012, Books, Nobel and tagged , , , , , , , . Bookmark the permalink.

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