The Great Enigma, new collected poems by Tomas Transtromer, translated by Robin Fulton (New Directions)

The Scottish poet Robin Fulton has devoted more than 30 years to rendering Transtromer's work in English. The results are stunning in their simplicity and penetration. In a 1973 interview, Transtromer said, "These poems are all the time pointing toward a greater context, one that is incomprehensible to our normal everyday reason.

George Seferis: Waiting for the Angel, a biography by Roderick Beaton (Yale)

This engrossing biography, published in 2003, failed to be noticed even by some of those who regard Seferis as a major poet. Perhaps the absence of a paperback version, or the rising stock of Cavafy over that of Seferis, had something to do with it. The story of Seferis, born in Smyrna in 1900, is the story of the tragedy of Greece and the eastern Mediterranean in the 20th century.

Our Post-Soviet History Unfolds, poems by Eleanor Lerman (Sarabande)

Lerman's last book, The Mystery of Meteors (Sarabande), was one of the best books of poetry of 2001. She has followed up with Our Post-Soviet History Unfolds, evermore rueful, perturbed, and unexpectedly pleased in tone. Her voice always sounds as if she has someone particular in mind to address, as if she is, from the outset, assured of being heard by someone close at hand.

I Served the King of England, a novel by Bohumil Hrabal (New Directions)

New Directions has just reissued Hrabal's great novel, translated from the Czech by Paul Wilson, in advance of the release of Jiri Menzel's movie based on the book. Hrabal (1914-1997) is best known for writing Closely Watching Trains. But I Served the King of England is, quite simply, a masterpiece of tragicomic fiction.

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