Friday, 22 May 2009

Butterfly Valley

In January this year the leading Danish poet Inger Christensen (b. 1935) passed away. In its new spring issue, Danish Literary Magazine has published an excerpt from Inger Christensen's poem-requiem, Sommerfugledalen (Butterfly Valley, 1991) in Susanna Nied's English translation. The work consists of 15 sonnets, all of which follow the Italian rhyme scheme and the division into octave and sestet, and each new poem takes up where the last one left off. The fifteenth sonnet is the master sonnet, drawing all the earlier ones together, and suggesting new interpretations. Although Susanna Nied's versions don't attempt to capture the rhymes and other formal characteristics of the poems, they do give an idea of the conciseness and power of the originals.

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