A very simple question to answer—two new books came in today, selections from the poetry of Tomas Tranströmer and Yehuda Amichai. The books are:
The Poetry of Yehuda Amichai, edited by Robert Alter ($35 FSG hardcover)
An in-depth selection of over 500 pages, utilizing translation by Glenda Abramson, Robert Alter, Yehuda Amichai, Chana Bloch, Assia Gutmann, Barbara Harshaw, Benjamin Harshaw, Ted Hughes, Chana Kronfeld, Stephen Mitchell, Ruth Nevo, Tudor Parfitt, Harold Schimmel, and Leon Wieseltier. Amichai was a major poet of the 20th century and arguably the best known Israeli poet. His work celebrates the individual with expressions of longing for peace and with sly, passionate evocations of grief, love, and eros (“Wrinkles appeared on the sheet; / Not of old age”).
Bright Scythe by Tomas Tranströmer ($17.95 Sarabande hardcover), translated by Patty Crane
This is a significant bilingual edition of the Swedish Nobel Laureate’s work, coming in at more than two hundred pages of poetry en face. Ms. Crane, in the afterword, brings the reader into her relationship with Tomas and Monica Tranströmer and discusses the process of translating his work with their direct help. Tranströmer was a great poet of a kindly and embracing solitude.
The clear sky has leaned against the wall.
It’s like a prayer to the emptiness.
And the emptiness turns its face to us
“I am not empty, I am open.”