Friday, 26 November 2010

The global book

In Hbl, Philip Teir reflects on the increasing internationalization and globalization of contemporary fiction, and wonders whether we are heading for a new literary world where national identity doesn't count for much:
Perhaps part of the explanation for Sofi Oksanen's success is that she is one of the first to try their hand at taking stock of the new Europe?

Slovak-born Alexandra Salmela's shortlisting for the Finlandia Prize could perhaps be seen as a sign of a coming trend... her new novel 27 - Eli Kuolema Tekee Taitelijan (27 - Or Death Makes an Artist) is not particularly rooted in one spot, but is a sort of cacophonous young person's novel that could have been published in almost any language at all...

...It's an interesting thought: are we heading towards a future in which the national literature project dissolves and we get literature that is trans-European? That may be too optimistic...

Thursday, 25 November 2010


The new blog is up and running in both versions: the one and the one. There are two new posts, representing two collections of poetry: Karin Boye's Moln (Clouds)[1922] and Jär (Standing Here)[1988] by Gösta Ågren, both in my own translation. Soon I hope to be adding some work that hasn't previously had much exposure, including my versions of poetry by Arvid Mörne and Bertel Gripenberg.

I still haven't decided how to proceed with the question of the two versions of the blog. I feel that the Xtreemhost server-hosted one gives me more personal control over the content and management, while the one, though off my computer, is quite a lot easier to administer and maintain, and most of the relevant plugins are ready-supplied. Anyway, time will tell. Perhaps one of the blog versions can serve as a backup for the other, and vice versa...

Wednesday, 24 November 2010

Nordic Voices in Print - New URL

The URL of the new blog has changed: it's now

And, after some wrestling with my wp.config file, it's also once again

So you can take your pick. :-)

I think that for the time being I'll maintain both versions - the one and the server-based one - and eventually one of them will be the "winner".

From the WP About page:
The general idea is to provide a space for Nordic texts (Finland-Swedish, Swedish, Icelandic, etc.) that I’ve translated over a number of years. Some have appeared in published book form, others haven’t. I had thought of reviving the old Demon site, as many of its pages are still up on the Web, isolated and unadvertised – but WordPress seemed like a more up-to-date and user-friendly way of dealing with the issue.  In particular, there are some older Bloodaxe titles that are now out of print, and WP might be one channel that could be useful for making these available again, in part or in whole. Another alternative might be to reissue the texts as e-books – but I think I prefer the less formal method of the blog, which also gives more control, potential interactivity and editing flexibility...
The first main posting is my translation of Moln (Clouds), the 1922 collection by Karin Boye.

Sunday, 14 November 2010

Vanishing Point

Joel Haahtela’s novel Katoamispiste (Vanishing Point) – excerpts from which I posted in my own translation in some earlier posts to this blog – has been selected as a nomination for this year’s Finlandia Prize, FILI reports.

Sunday, 7 November 2010

Ice Floe

The first issue of the new series of Ice Floe is now available from University of Alaska Press - the inaugural issue presents new poems as well as a selection of work from the first seven years of the publication's existence, and the poets represented hail from  Alaska, Canada, Iceland, Norway, Sweden, Finland and Russia.

Wednesday, 3 November 2010

Elmer Diktonius - 2 Poems

The child's dream

 An angel came from heaven
with a sausage in her hand
and gave it to me –
oh how good it was!
And the angel said, come to heaven!
and we flew. And there was God.
With a lollipop in his mouth.
And he gave it to me.
And it was good too!
And God said: there is always meat
for poor children,
and pastries on top
and ice cream!
And we ate.
And all our tummies rumbled full.
And God said:
who ‘s that singing so nicely?

My name is Diktonius

My name is Diktonius –
a liar like everyone else.
not songs do I sing
but concrete,
have no ideas –
an iron skeleton is my inner being.
My lines are the explosion’s,
my heat the crater’s -
if you seek coolness
I give you blocks of ice,
I understand much,
know very little –
but what do you care!

translated from Finland-Swedish by David McDuff