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

1.
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

2.
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

3.
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

4.
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

Advent Calendar – 7

Posted in Autoren / poets, Jessie Kleemann by lyrikline on 7. December 2012
Jessie Kleemann

Jessie Kleemann

Far north we go, to Greenland, where poetry has a long oral tradition of performance. In old times, poetry was even used to settle disputes at large gatherings. Two opponents would sing satirical songs in front of a large audience who passed judgement, expressing their sympathy with delighted cheers or laughter and their diapproval with hoots.* But modern poetry has made its way and behind the 7th door of the Advent Calendar you’ll find the first poems in Greenlandic on lyrikline.org by

Jessie Kleemann

(with translations into Danish, English, German and Spanish)

Jessie Kleemann was born in Upernavik, Greenland in 1959. In her poems, traditional Eskimo motifs meet the globalised present. Mystical natural images collide with real social problems, sea mothers with Brigitte Bardot, dog sleds with 4-wheel drive off-road vehicles. Her poetry, written in Greenlandic and Danish, searches for heritage and identity in the broken linguistic material of the post-modern, creating texts in which the beautiful and the ugly do not exclude each other.

(* Article about Greenlandic Literature)