Thursday, May 26, 2011

In lieu of having lent out With Deer—Remainland: Selected Poems of Aase Berg translated by Johannes Göransson

ACTION BOOKS 2005.  There is no point of dallying—Swedish poet Aase Berg's poems are the best possible weird.  Covering 4 books, Göransson provides eloquent translations that still convey the corporeality glistening like fat in every line.  I cannot reiterate enough how amazing this book is—from the opening poem "Shard" (from With Deer): 

His fingers search the bottom of the tarn for the water lily's black vein.  Still breathes the love beast.  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.

to the penultimate stanza "we want to be remains here."  This book is adrenal dripping out ears when reality is too frightening to confront.  To say these poems are visceral understates Berg's poetry—if you told me these poems were written with seal blood or the insides of dragonflies, I wouldn't be surprised.  These poems will grab you with their tentacles.  They will put deer in your eyeballs.  If you want sleep, you will sleep in whale fat.  If you allow the Swedish landscape to hum in, "A glass deer here/branches break, thigh bones".

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