Are there copper pipes in heaven / ERU KOPARRØR Í HIMMIRÍKI
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About the Author
"If it's true that each language encodes a unique way of being in the world, artist & filmmaker Katrin Ottarsdóttir's book, Are there Copper Pipes in Heaven (trans. Matthew Landrum with Samal Soll) draws us not only into a world inhabited by speakers of Faroese, but the insular world of a family created in a tongue all her own. These confessional poems chart a challenging journey through family dysfunction in spare, windswept language. Landrum's careful translation of the nuances of Faroese pronouns conveys the complex subjectivity of these poems' speaker. In many, household objects are animated by the unspoken presence of mental illness ("nerve pills rattle in the cupboards," "syringes plunge through the
night"). The child, through whose point of view events are filtered, is often as much an afterthought as the home's "teak tables with søholm vases." These poems balance great sea storms of emotion (though the sea itself is never mentioned, a rarity in Faroese poetry, Landrum's preface tells us) with precise description of the interior objects that witness the family's drama. The overall effect of the book is one of a voice long stifled now being let out for a bit of salty air."
-Jennifer Fueston (author of Latch)
"The powerful and expressive language in the poems made the collection a spectacular debut for Katrin Ottarsdóttir. In 2013 Are there Copper Pipes in Heaven was awarded the National Faroese Book Award, and it will remain a landmark and a classic in Faroese poetry from the 21st Century. The translation by Matthew Landrum captures brilliantly the intricate oscillation between the beautiful and the horrifying in the Faroese original."
- Bergur Djurhuus Hansen (Professor of Literature at Fróðskaparsetur Føroya)