Condition of Secrecy

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Product Details

$16.95  $15.76
New Directions Publishing Corporation
Publish Date
5.2 X 0.3 X 7.9 inches | 0.3 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.


Inger Christensen manages to make wit, passion and questioning, and astonishing design serve each other's ends as one, and she does it in a way that is utterly her own.--W. S. Merwin
One of Scandinavia's finest experimental poets, Christensen's probing, questioning, hopeful voice was an important one and is missed, but we can still hear it in this provocative book. A poet who was definitely not living in an ivory tower.
Christensen is at her most intriguing when posing questions, as when she wonders, 'Does art originate from the same necessity that gives rise to beehives, the songs of larks, and the dances of cranes?' and asking whether it is possible to write poetry that is compelling if read 'out loud to a cockroach?' These borderline silly yet profoundly imaginative questions make for a thought-provoking reading experience.
Christensen's scientific and sensuous language resonates with a cosmic vibrancy.
What sets Christensen above other poets, moralists, mystics, and scientists is that she rarely instructs by telling how to see, but instead gets readers to experience an alternate way of seeing through the reading of her verse. From one essay to the next, her luminous prose (conveyed in graceful, intimate English by her longtime translator Susanna Nied) confirms what was already evident in the poems: that Christensen was one of the eminent visionaries of the 20th century.
Condition of Secrecy exudes--and induces--the same fugue-like state induced by the best poems, especially long poems, and particularly Christensen's own.