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From July ’90

by Tomas Tranströmer

translated from the Swedish by Michael McGriff with Mikaela Grassl


It was a funeral
and I felt the dead man
reading my thoughts
better than I could.

The organ kept silent, the birds sang.
The grave under the blazing sun.
My friend's voice dwelled
on the far side of the minutes.

I drove home seen-through
by the glassy shine of summer
by the rain and calm
seen-through by the moon.

 

Tomas Tranströmer was born in Stockholm in 1931. A translator, psychologist, entomologist, and classical pianist, he has become the most influential and revered Swedish poet of his generation. He is the author of twelve full-length collections of poetry, most recently Den stora gåtan (The Great Enigma) in 2004. Tranströmer’s books have appeared in hundreds of editions in over fifty languages. Among his many honors are Germany’s Petrarch Prize, the Neustadt International Prize for Literature, the Bellman Prize, the Bonnier Award for Poetry, and the Swedish Academy’s Nordic Prize. In 2008 Green Integer will release his book The Sorrow Gondola, translated by Michael McGriff with Mikaela Grassl. Tranströmer lives with his wife Monica in Stockholm.

Michael McGriff is a former Michener Fellow at the University of Texas and a current Stegner Fellow at Stanford University. His translation of Tomas Tranströmer's The Sorrow Gondola is forthcoming from Green Integer Books in 2008. His poems and translations have recently appeared in Poetry, Crazyhorse, FIELD, and Northwest Review.

Mikaela Grassl was born and raised in Sunne, Sweden. She is a graduate of the Torsby Ski Academy (Sweden) and is currently a member of the University of Utah Alpine Ski Team. She is a degree candidate at the University of Utah, Salt Lake City. (4/2007)


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