Scandinavian Literature in Translation || Littérature scandinave en traduction

Archive for the ‘poetry’ Category

Olav Håkonson Hauge: The Dream We Carry

leave a comment »

The Dream We Carry
Olav Håkonson Hauge
Copper Canyon Press
ISBN 978-1-55659-288-1
1 October 2008
$19.95 in Canada


Olav H. Hauge, one of Norway’s most beloved poets, is a major figure of twentieth-century European poetry. This generous bilingual edition—introduced by Robert Bly—includes the best poems from each of Hauge’s seven books, as well as a gathering of his last poems.

Ever sage and plainspoken—and bearing resemblance to Chinese poetry—Hauge’s compact and classically restrained poems are rooted in his training as an orchardist, his deep reading in world literatures, and a lifetime of careful attention to the beauties and rigors of the western fjordland. His spare imagery and unpretentious tone ranges from bleak to unabashedly joyous, an intricate interplay between head and heart and hand.

Written by Thomas

2008-12-27 at 23:35

The Poetic Edda

leave a comment »

New Edition:

The Poetic Edda
Translated by Carolyne Larrington
Oxford University Press
ISBN 978-0-19-953838-6
11 January 2009
$19.95 in Canada


The collection of Norse-Icelandic mythological and heroic poetry known as the Poetic Edda contains the great narratives of the creation of the world and the coming of Ragnarok, the Doom of the Gods. The mythological poems explore the wisdom of the gods and giants, narrating the adventures of the god Thor against the hostile giants and the gods’ rivalries amongst themselves. The heroic poems trace the exploits of the hero Helgi and his valkyrie bride, the tragic tale of Sigurd and Brynhild’s doomed love, and the terrible drama of Sigurd’s widow Gudrun and her children.

Many of the poems predate the conversion of Scandinavia to Christianity, allowing us to glimpse the pagan beliefs of the North. Since the rediscovery of the Poetic Edda in the seventeenth century, its poetry has fascinated artists as diverse as Thomas Gray, Richard Wagner, and Jorge Luis Borges.

This is the first complete translation to be published in Britain for fifty years, and it includes a scholarly introduction, notes, a genealogy of the gods and giants, and an index of names.

Written by Thomas

2008-12-27 at 23:15

Lars Gustafsson: A Time in Xanadu

leave a comment »

A Time in Xanadu
Lars Gustafsson
Copper Canyon Press
ISBN 978-1-55659-275-1
1 June 2008
$19.50 in Canada


From the moment it begins, Lars Gustafsson’s A Time in Xanadu throws open questions of geography and narration. Where are we? How do we know? Throughout the book, the speaker’s voice proves a powerful one as it muses on questions of travel, war, philosophy, and thought itself. The language of Gustafsson’s poems is sparse, and his lines are compact and taut. But beneath the neat surfaces of these poems lie surreal and sometimes eerie landscapes: a castle in Cremona, Italy; “those white, strangely meaningless / days between Christmas and New Year;” a library which is “a kind of subway.” There are strains of Ezra Pound in this work, and allusions to great continental thinkers—Goethe, Fichte, Nietzsche, Einstein—drift across it. Yet tracing those allusions to their source is neither desirable nor, ultimately, possible. For in the wake of Gustafsson’s highly evocative poems, we can only wonder just how much time we have spent, or lost, in Xanadu, or where we went from there.

Written by Thomas

2008-12-27 at 14:56