Butterfly Valley: A Requiem
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Inger Christensen, often cited as a Nobel contender, is one of Europe's most revered poets. Winner of the Nordic Prize of the Swedish Academy and the Austrian State Prize for Literature, she is perhaps best known for her groundbreaking work Det (It), a cycle of poems published in 1969. Her first book published in the U.S., alphabet (New Directions, 2001), met with a tremendous response: "Seductive," said Boston Review; "A visionary reincarnation of the natural world in the atomic age," wrote Chicago Review. Butterfly Valley: A Requiem collects four medium-length works, each startling for its beauty and formal innovation. "Butterfly Valley" is a sonnet cycle which describes the glowing color and beauty of butterflies, and also their fragility and mortality. Memory is uncovered in the poem like the fluttering of their wings. In "Watersteps," the fountains and piazzas of Rome coalesce, brought alive in the imagination by the poem's shifting rhythms, lines, and overall structure. In "Poem on Death" the poet seeking immortality faces the whiteness of the page as the blankness of death: "it feels so odd! immodest to think / about death when no one / you know has died / it means that each time / you look at yourself in the mirror / you look death in the eye / without crying / like a clear and fully! comprehensible answer / but to questions / you dare not ask." "Meeting," written in extended sections, describes a "coming together," yet examines our failure to connect and the ability of language to overcome this.
New Directions Publishing Corporation
June 17, 2004
5.32 X 0.27 X 7.86 inches | 0.23 pounds
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About the Author
Inger Christensen (1935- 2009), whose work is a cornerstone of modern Scandinavian poetry, was the recipient of many international awards, among them the Nordic Authors' Prize, bestowed by the Swedish Academy and known as the "Little Nobel." Her books include the masterpiece it; alphabet; Butterfly Valley; and Light, Grass, and Letter in April.
Susanna Nied's work has appeared in various literary journals and anthologies. Her translation of It won the Harold Morton Landon Translation Award in 2007.
"A fear of what might be and a love of what is speak eloquently from these texts."