Wednesday, 27 October 2010

Summer Poems

by Lars Huldén

Even the Ice Age had its summers,
short it is true
as the Nordic summers are,
but light, light.
One saw the expanses of ice.
But one didn't despair.
That is my consolation.


Hay belongs to the summer,
fragrant hay.
How lovely
a well-kept meadow smells!
And a barn full of hay,
the kind there were still in the country
until a short time ago,
could make people drunk.

The days of free hay are gone.
People don’t make love among bales.


The mist cups its hand
over the meadow’s bosom.
The sun throws down its gaze.
A curious moon rises
to see what is happening,
is going to happen, or has happened already.
The meadow says that she is unfortunately
already married. The mist’s hand
stays where it is.


We flesh-eating plants
are not so numerous here in the north.
I am the only one on this moss,
says the drosera.

It gets quite lonely sometimes.
My surroundings think I’m mysterious,
but I don’t care about that.
There are plenty of little flies here,
and creepy-crawlies.
One doesn’t have to go hungry.

But occasionally I
envy the grasses and the semi-grasses
that stand so close together.
I have no I
on whom I can rely.

But it’s all right.
And soon the summer
will be over.

translated from Finland-Swedish by David McDuff

Friday, 22 October 2010

Sontag Award

From the Scandinavia House website:
The 2010 Susan Sontag Prize for Translation was awarded to Benjamin Mier-Cruz, a Ph.D. candidate in Scandinavian Languages and Literatures at UC Berkeley, for his proposed translation of selected letters and poems by the Finland-Swedish author Elmer Diktonius (1896 -1961). In celebration of the translation prize, programs will include the panel discussions The Challenges of Literary Translation Today and Elmer Diktonius, Finland-Swedish Literature, and Modernism in Scandinavia. Programs will also include a screening of the rare Sontag film Duet for Cannibals/Duett för kannibaler (Sweden, 1969).

Thursday, 21 October 2010

18 Gothenburg Poets

Lev Hrytsyuk's large anthology of contemporary Swedish poetry in Ukrainian translation, 18 поетів із Гетеборга, is now available on Issuu.

I personally find the Issuu interface a little tricky, but it's nice to be able to turn the pages!

Monday, 18 October 2010


Swedish author and translator Ulf Peter Hallberg recently visited Helsinki and wrote about what he perceived to be a "slightly alarming" social and cultural uniformity (entydighet) in the place and its citizens. When the piece was reviewed in Hbl (with an accent on Hallberg's pessimistic take on the future of Finland-Swedishness), some commenters took the opportunity of pointing out that because of its unique history, Finland and the Finns play a special role in today's Europe, preserving the concept and practice of national identity in an era when it has been less than fashionable to do so. Hallberg's reactions to Finland are particularly interesting in the light of German chancellor Angela Merkel's recent remarks about the failure of multiculturalism in her country.

Sunday, 10 October 2010


Qué dicha para todos los hombres,
Islandia de los mares, que existas.
Islandia de la nieve silenciosa y del agua ferviente.
Islandia de la noche que se aboveda
Sobre la vigilancia y el sueño.
Isla del día blanco que regresa,
Joven y mortal como Baldr.
Fría rosa, isla secreta
Que fuiste la memoria de Germania
Y salvaste para nosotros
Su apagada, enterrada mitología,
El anillo que engendra nueve anillos,
Los altos lobos de la selva de hierro
Que devorarán la luna y el sol,
La nave que Algo o Alguien construye
Con uñas de los muertos.
Islandia de los cráteres que esperan,
Y de las tranquilas majadas.
Islandia de las tardes inmóviles
Y de los hombres fuertes
Que son ahora marineros y banqueros y párrocos
Y que ayer descubrieron un continente.
Isla de caballos de larga crin
Que engendran sobre el paso y la lava,
Isla del agua llena de monedas
Y de no saciada esperanza.
Islandia de la espada y de la runa,
Islandia de la gran Memoria cóncava
Que no es una nostalgia.

- Jorge Luis Borges