See here for more on Kasja (more than appears in Twitters) and here for more on SJ Fowler. We (actually it was Steve) concocted a longer biography than was finally published, so it seems the appropriate day to present that AND another of our works by Bergstrom that I had to omit from Twitters on length grounds. It follows on from the last sentences of the biography well:
Kajsa Bergstrom is one of the finest of modern, modest Northern European poets. Born into a gentrified family in 1956, in Ornskoldsvik, she is one of the last to follow the ecstatic revolution in Scandinavian literature, after the likes of Ibsen, Hamsun, Garborg and Strindberg, and on then from Ekelöf, Martinson, Tranströmer. The outpouring of reflective, burdened personal emotion, of self-analysis, of the destructive power of civilised discourse, marks out the early poetry, as though she were living the works of those who had come before her. Bergstrom is indelibly marked by her father’s death while she was a child. Her mother, a member of the petty nobility, still retained the Bergmanesque protestant hardness of her forebears, and seems to have been indifferent to her daughter and, as had happened with Schopenhauer, this emotional isolation surrounded by wealth produced a superlative gift for the imagination for the young poet. Like Schopenhauer too, this became directed toward the Oriental, the Eastern mode, in her turning away from Christianity and European parochialism.
After brief periods studying in London and Uppsala, Bergstrom became a student of music in Paris and became familiar with the work of the Tel Quel group. She forever maintained their influence on her was limited. Her first collection Flak (1977) was not received with any particular fanfare. She described its writing as suicidal, a process of poetry amidst emotional upheaval, and indeed her use of cryptic linguistic constructions, etymological tracings, repetitions, seems to hark to the best of European experimental movements and yet, almost by design, seem utterly impersonal, impenetrable to the reader.
As her work transformed, she returned to Stockholm, and her esoteric embracing of the poetic medium began to become tempered by more direct images in the text work that appeared to be increasingly offset by the remarkable use of typography, as though she were literally breaking apart the limitations of the Swedish language to express direct thoughts and images. The high experimentation left its trace in her use of materials and the ever present relentlessness of her images. By the time of Songbook (1996) and Noli Me Tangere (2005), when she had moved to Malmø, her oscillation between obtuse mysticism and deeply personal intellectualism had won her great acclaim.
from Noli Me Tangere
on her thought
a flesh-filled boka
blue if we think differently and look
taught then one of them whistles they aren’t
essential seats are not guaranteed she sits on
the bus and thinks her eye rests where she nests
lost grass as uniform as baize and three
Jämthunds scrabble and bolt and the Asian horde
hunched with hair thinks about our boka
writing looking at her lips soft continually but her eyes are the softened
inviting him so horst scarred up coiled
towards them trained and savage in a film
on her farm which seems neither mobile nor dark
she imagines writing thinks there’s nothing
in rolls then the rolls are equal
measures you turn to notice and pray
her hard drive next to her she imagines writing sorg
of this later she’ll say or write uncoiled
and cut into neat squares to concentrate upon
crossing the road or covering the last vacant
feat of the journey
Water and sand pillowing her advance past
its return in a way she’s returned and sold in multiples
by the square you’re not sure which version
of events in Master Johansgatan a silent restaurant of sand
s hut words past language into
with studium fat laws elsewhere today a pheasant you
bs the a
ir fresh e
your interiority the woman in the suit processionally
detailed sunlight hops across the temporary
sward four rats swim the algae nod towards t he
r to th
fallen gold Harolden le
aves putting at the corner
they scuttle across the short g
rass but nothing impresses more
talk more get up you and sa
Hyllie Boulevard which has er
upted from below
the surface of the day da
mp cobbles dipping in
Read more about the European Union of Imaginary Authors here and here. All the collaborators are accessible via links here.
Accompanied by biographical notes, the poets grow in vividness until they seem to possess lives of their own; they are collected now in Twitters for a Lark, published by Shearsman.
This collection marks a continuation of the work I ventriloquised through my solo creation, the fictional bilingual Belgian poet René Van Valckenborch, in A Translated Man (read an early account here; the book is also available from Shearsman here ).
I see these two books as the first two parts of a fictional poetry trilogy. I have posited a possible continuing fiction here, but I am unsure which way this will go now.I talked about that yesterday too, on the Danish post.
|SJ Fowler at the centre of the Manchester European Poets reading, with some EUOIA collaborators there too: Patricia Farrell, Scott Thurston, Tom Jenks - and me|