The Winged Energy of Delight by P-HarpercollinsPubl


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									The Winged Energy of Delight
Author: Robert Bly

The astonishing collection of the translations Robert Bly has been producing for more than fifty years,
introducing foreign poets to American readers for the first time.Robert Bly has always been amazingly
prescient in his choice of poets to translate. The poetry he selected supplied qualities that seemed
lacking from the literary culture of this country. At a time when editors and readers knew only Eliot and
Pound, Bly introduced Neruda, Vallejo, Trakl, Jiménez, Traströmer, and Rumi. His most recent 
translations include Rolf Jacobsen, Francis Ponge, and the nineteenth-century Indian poet Ghalib. Here,
in The Winged Energy of Delight, the poems of twenty-two renowned and lesser-known poets from around
the world are brought together. As Kenneth Rexroth has said, Robert Bly "is one of the leaders of a
poetic revival that has returned American literature to the world community."

Tomas Tranströmer comes from a long line of ship pilots whoworked in and around the Stockholm 
Archipelago. He is at home onislands. His face is thin and angular, and the swift, spare face remindsone
of Hans Christian Andersen's or the younger Kierkegaard's. He hasa strange genius for the image --
images come up almost effortlessly. Theimages flow upward like water rising in some lonely place, in
theswamps, or deep fir woods.Swedish poetry tends to be very rational, and therefore open tofads.
Tranströmer, simply by publishing his books, leads a movementof poetry in the opposite direction, toward 
a poetry of silence anddepths.One of the most beautiful qualities in his poems is the space we feelin
them. I think one reason for that is that the four or five main imagesthat appear in each of his poems
come from widely separated sourcesin the psyche. His poems are a sort of railway station where trains
thathave come enormous distances stand briefly in the same building. Onetrain may have some Russian
snow still lying on the undercarriage,and another may have Mediterranean flowers still fresh in the
compartments,and Ruhr soot on the roofs.The poems are mysterious because of the distance the images
havecome to get there. Mallarmé believed there should be mystery inpoetry, and urged poets to get it by 
removing the links that tie thepoem to its occasion in the real world. Tranströmer keeps the link tothe 
worldly occasion, and yet the poems have a mystery and surprisethat never fade, even on many
readings.Rilke taught that poets should be "bees of the invisible." Makinghoney for the invisible suggests
that the poet remain close to earthlyhistory, but move as well toward the spiritual and the
invisible.Tranströmer suspects that as an artist he is merely a way for "theMemory" to get out into the 
world. Even at seventeen he was awarethat the dead "wanted to have their portrait painted." Somehow
thatcannot be done without making peace with rhetoric. He wants to tellof spiritual matters, but he
doesn't want to be a preacher. If rhetoriccould kill Christianity in Sweden, maybe it could kill poetry as
well. In"From an African Diary," he describes climbing on a canoe hollowedfrom a log:The canoe is
incredibly wobbly, even when you sit on your heels.A balancing act. If you have the heart on the left side
you haveto lean a bit to the right, nothing in the pockets, no big armmovements, please, all rhetoric has
to be left behind. Precisely:rhetoric is impossible here. The canoe glides out over the water.In "The
Scattered Congregation," Tranströmer remarks:Nicodemus the sleepwalker is on his wayto the Address. 
Who's got the Address?Don't know. But that's where we're going.Tomas Tranströmer was born in 
Stockholm on April 15, 1931.His father and mother divorced when he was three; he and his motherlived
after that in an apartment in the working-class district ofStockholm. He describes the apartment in the
poem called "TheBookcase."The early fifties were a rather formal time, both here and inSweden, and
Tranströmer began by writing concentrated, highly formalpoems, some in iambs and some in...
Author Bio
Robert Bly
Robert Bly's books of poetry include The Night Abraham Called to the Stars and My Sentence Was a
Thousand Years of Joy. His awards include the National Book Award for poetry and two Guggenheims.
He lives in Minneapolis, Minnesota.

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