Wednesday, April 1, 2009

Aase Berg-- With Deer

At his blog In Search of Duende Phil Hopkins look closely at "Still," the first poem in Johannes Goransson's translation of Aase Berg's "With Deer."

Overall Phil's first impressions of "With Deer" is that as a whole it's "powerfully original and cohesive" (and, for whatever it's worth, I agree)

Then Phil gives a casual but insightful reading of "Still."

Here's the full text of this poem

His fingers search the bottom of the tarn for the water lily's black vein. Still the love beast breathes. Still he suckles the fox sore on my weak wrist. In the distance the wind is slowly dying: the night of nights is coming. But still the fetus lily rests untouched. And still his fingers search the bottom of the tarn for the water lily's black vein.

And here's an excerpt from Phil's notes:

"Then the wind is slowly dying - an unfortunate cliche here. But I think writers are not supposed to care about the occasional lazy phrase anymore. Doesn't make sense to me, especially in a short poem. The night of nights is coming; this line sets the tone for the book. What she's created here is an atmosphere of the wounded, the half-healing, the natural world taking over and yet falling apart."

Aase Berg would, though, advocate going further than "occasional lazy phrase."
(Or at least she would have.)

Here are Aase's own words:

"I hope for poetic expressions that are aggressive, baroque and esoteric; I prefer ridiculous and embarrassing to perfection."

from "It's Not Acceptable To Be A Fatso" (first published in the journal 90Tal, number 3, 1999)

To read all of Phil's blog post on this go here

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