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The Letters of Robert Bly and Tomas Tranströmer
Edited by Thomas R. Smith

Airmail provides a rare portrait of two artists who have become integral to each other’s particular genius and who are essential contributors to global literature. Across their correspondence, Bly and Tranströmer are profoundly engaged with each other and with the larger world: the Vietnam War, European and American elections, and the struggles of affording a life as a writer. Airmail also illuminates the work of translation, as each begins translating the other’s poetry. Their collaboration quickly turned into a friendship that has lasted fifty years. Airmail collects more than 290 letters, written from 1964 until 1990, when Tranströmer suffered a stroke that left him partially paralyzed. This publication marks the first time letters by Bly and Tranströmer have been made available in the United States, and this edition includes poetry and translations by both writers that have never before been published.

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The illuminating letters of the National Book Award-winning poet Robert Bly and the Nobel Prize-winning poet Tomas Tranströmer

About the Author

Robert  Bly
Credit: Monica Tranströmer
Robert Bly was born in Minnesota in 1926. He is a poet, translator, essayist, and cultural critic. He is the author of Eating the Honey of Words: New and Selected Poems and The Light Around the Body, which received the National Book Award. He has translated the works of such poets as Pablo Neruda, Georg Trakl, Tomas Tranströmer, and others. He lives in Minneapolis.
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Tomas  Transtromer
Credit: Monica Tranströmer
Tomas Tranströmer was born in Stockholm, Sweden, in 1931, and spent his career as a psychologist. The author of a dozen books of poetry including The Half-Finished Heaven: New and Selected Poems, Tranströmer is the most renowned Scandinavian Poet since World War II. In 2011, he received the Nobel Prize in Literature. He lived in Stockholm until his death in 2015.
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  • “[A] delectable book. . . . Whether or not one is grateful for the speed and ease of electronic messaging, this marvelous collection, both entertaining and edifying, provides one opportunity to measure what has been lost.”Star Tribune (Minneapolis)
  • “Whether you’re a poet or not, these letters are a joy to read.”River Falls Journal
  • “These letters remind us that creativity does not flourish in a vacuum; friendship underpins many literary projects, even as we think of writers as solitary figures.”—Rain Taxi
  • “A remarkable literary exchange. . . . The self-portraits of the two poets, as they emerge over the years, are in many respects as fully-formed and as astonishing as those of Lowell and Bishop.”Blackbird
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