Thursday, 30 April 2009

Nordic poetry blogs and info-sites

Young Ny Tid cultural journalist Emma Strömberg has written a lively article about poetry blogs in the Nordic languages, though mainly in her mother-tongue, Swedish. The first thing Strömberg confronts the reader with in this article published last month is her own prejudices:

"... I do feel ashamed at having a snobbish [fisförnäm] attitude to poetry. Because I want to keep poetry at a high standard, a rare dish, something of a luxury."

She therefore looks at poetry blogs with what I would regard a healthy scepticism. She continues:

"So I am approaching all of this with a firm view: I am as decided and immoveable as a rock, ready to accept proof of what I already know. That general poetry forums are, yes, simply full of shit."

No beating about the bush, though she somewhat softens her attitude later in the article. At first she pours out all her prejudices about poetry chatsites and blogs which are filled with naïve adolescent poetry, with clichés and catharsis. She does admit, however, that the internet does afford "the masses" a chance to participate in what risks becoming a dying art.

Emma Strömberg briefly reviews five poetry blogs:

This is an open forum with a relatively sober outlook. This open approach can, nevertheless, attract cyber-graffiti.

This open forum seems to concentrate more on layout than content. The name itself is ominous.

This is an edited forum, which Strömberg says sometimes publishes interesting interviews. I (Eric) feel that this is perhaps the best and most comprehensive of these first three blogsites here, as it has a lot of reviews of poetry collections plus interviews.

These three interlinked websites constitute a literary calendar about poetry events in Sweden, Norway and Denmark, respectively.

This one is where you can read and comment on texts from the first ever Finland-Swedish creative writing course carried out in the form of a blog. This website also gives further links to four Swedish-speaking literary associations in Finland: ones in Nyland, Åboland, Ostrobothnia and the umbrella organisation Finlands svenska littteraturföreningar.


These websites are, despite their various weaknesses, a good way of seeing what is being produced by way of poetry on the internet.


David McDuff said...

The (not very well publicized) existence of these sites (including this one) seems to support Poul Borum's oft-repeated thesis that "Art is for everyone, but not everyone knows that".

Eric Dickens said...

Yes, good point. The blogosphere is still new, and "the masses" still don't know where to look, even if they are interested.

I think the promotion of blogsites has to initially go via writers and translators to other writers and translators, in a graprevine way. One interesting Swedish blogsite is Salongen, run from Berlin:

On 30th March they started a discussion on the state of literary translation in Sweden: