lyrikline blog

The place where I write: Morten Søndergaard [Denmark]

Posted in Autoren / poets, Morten Søndergaard by lyrikline on 21. March 2013
Lima (1986), photo: Morten Søndergaard

Lima (1986), photo: Morten Søndergaard

Meanwhile, in Another Place

The Italian poet Giovanni Pascoli had three tables–one for each of the three languages between which he translated: Italian, Greek, and Latin. Translation took place in the interstices. Translation is vital. Come! We’re crossing over. Between the tables lies the most important thing. Between the tables, other languages grow. That is where you find the only worthwhile thing you can report on at home. At home? My desk! Every word a table. Excuse me. I’m all messed up: the desk is my head. I’ll tidy up in my head. Every surface is a potential table. Excuse me: a potential word.  Operating table or altar? Card table in the control tower, life or death, here the battle has to be fought.

Marrakesh (2001), photo: Morten Søndergaard

Marrakesh (2001), photo: Morten Søndergaard

Askew in the skew, there is the laptop: a platform, a pulse. Where do I start? I tidy up.  I lay the cards on the table. I move jerkily. Desk seismograph.  Books push their way upward through the geological strata of the desk. I know what to do: write every day. Read every day. Hang in there. Read difficult books. Write good poems.  It’s as simple as that. This morning, time feels a little more real. I wash down an aspirin with cold coffee. The house across the way washes over me. The desk grows upwards around me like shrubbery, and I sense my own musty odor. My desk is a mess. On it, are notes for poems, cups, wine glasses, books, scissors, headphones.  Entrance ticket. Felt-tip pen. Toothbrush. Cell phone. Money, wallet, pencil. Where do I begin? Writing is tidying up. The ray of doubt encounters wonderful things.

Copenhagen (2007), photo: Morten Søndergaard

Copenhagen (2007), photo: Morten Søndergaard

In the Museum of Copenhagen, there is a Søren Kierkegaard exhibition. I lean against his desk, I catch myself doing it. Here, he moved between his pseudonyms, he wrote between the desks, he went from book to book.  Each table was a new name and a new book. In the desks, there were secret drawers, places for papers, that shunned the light, letters, notes, dire and inaccessible. Søren Kierkegaard wore the engagement ring up to his death: “Since I have never known the date regarding the breaking off of my engagement, I made an attempt to calculate it.  This attempt is on a slip in the older packet in gray paper, which lies in the small drawer in my desk, and on this packet it says: Destroy after my death.”  There are traces of wear, traces of Regine, in the green felt of the desk.

Urfa (2007), photo: Morten Søndergaard

Urfa (2007), photo: Morten Søndergaard

We’re getting there. Not any place. Any place. In what state of any place? The place is a room, not under us, but above us. I see everything clearly and outside of myself, outside of the place. Unable, outside of the place until the place returns with its presence.  The place is a warping, a wonder. As if one were to take an advance from another place. Another place, where something else happens. In place of. The place as an intermediary. As a rendezvous for many places. The place in place of the place. As long as it takes. The place is a bright spot between other places.

                              Morten Søndergaard

English translation: Sharmila Cohen

Morten Søndergaard on lyrikline

„who is the octopus – the dreamer or the dream“?

Certainly many of you had some exciting days during the Football World Cup in South Africa. We’ve had a good time here in Berlin at the headquarter (at least until the semi finals) with nearly all colleagues in our institution (Literaturwerkstatt Berlin) swept by football fever. In the end, the office was defeated in the in-house betting pool by the open mike department in a very close race.

The headline of this article is quoted from a nice poem found on lyrikline which seems to have been made for Paul, the octopus oracle that was so (tragically) right this year. Here is the octopus poem by Joanne Burns from Australia.

Thanks to everyone for following our poetic match series on Twitter and Facebook, that presented two poems from the competing countries every day (except for a short holiday break). For the archives, here is the complete list of the poetic encounters:

June 11
South Africa vs Mexico
Ike Mboneni Muila / José Emilio Pacheco

Uruguay vs France
Eduardo Milán / Georges-Emmanuel Clancier

June 12
South Korea vs Greece
HUH Su Kyung / Kostas Koutsourelis

June 13
Germany vs Australia
Jan Wagner / Antigone Kefala

June 14
The Netherlands
vs Denmark
Tsead Bruinja / Morten Søndergaard

June 15
Ivory Coast vs Portugal
Tanella Boni / Gonçalo M. Tavares

June 16
Spain vs Switzerland
Manuel Forcano / Donata Berra

June 17
Argentina vs South Korea
Juan Gelman / CHONG Hyonjong

June 18
Germany vs Serbia
Marcel Beyer / Matija Bećković

June 19
The Netherlands vs Japan
Serge van Duijnhoven / Kazuko Shiraishi

June 20
Brazil vs Ivory Coast
Ricardo Domeneck / Tanella Boni

June 21
Chile vs Switzerland
Raúl Zurita / Leo Tuor

June 22
France vs South Africa
Jacques-Frédéric Temple / Antjie Krog

July 2
The Netherlands vs Brazil
Erik Lindner / Arnaldo Antunes

July 3
Argentina vs Germany
Daniel Samoilovich / Ursula Krechel

July 6
Uruguay vs The Netherlands
Eduardo Milán / Jan-Willem Anker

July 7
Germany vs Spain
Nico Bleutge / Perejaume

July 10
Uruguay vs Germany
Eduardo Milán / Lutz Seiler

July 11
The Netherlands vs Spain
Arjen Duinker / Claudio Rodríguez

Finally, congratulations to Spain!