Plurilingual readings

As my first entry on this «Multilanguage weblog» I would like to draw your attention toward a recording of a reading that took place on the release of the previous issue of the Norwegian web magazine nypoesi. The working title of the issue is «Språkbeherskelse» (one possible translation: «mastering language»): an attempt of approaching a plurilingual writing, situated both within and between languages. Caroline Bergvall read «Cropper», written in Norwegian and English and commissioned for this issue (the Norwegian word «kropper» means «bodies»); Bergvall, the Swedish poet Johan Jönson and the Danish poet Martin Glaz Serup read each others texts; Joar Tiberg is, without doubt, reading in Swedish, even though he doesn’t seem convinced that the text he’s reading actually is written in Swedish, and Monica Aasprong is doing a beautiful performance of Soldatmarkedet, a project I will return to in my next entry. Recordings of the reading is to be found here.


Ton van 't Hof said...

Paal, there seems to be a lot of cooperation between Scandinavian poets. Could you say there is some kind of scene?

Paal Bjelke Andersen said...


yes, indeed there is. The main reason for this is of course that the Norwegian, Swedish and Danish languages are very close. I can easily understand Swedish and Danish. Co-operations and exchanges between Scandinavian poets goes way back,it would take an essay to sort it out for you, but it has really grown into an "scene" the last five years or so. Nypoesi is one example. Nowadays we think about it as "a Scandinavian webmagazine for international contemporary poetry, edited from Oslo," but it started out four years ago as a webmagazine publishing poetry in both Norwegian, Swedish and Danish, something we didn't have then.

Some more examples:
Two years ago the Danish "web gallery" AfsnitP, edited by Christian Yde Frostholm and Karen Wagner, did an impressive presentation of Swedish concrete poetry from the sixties,also including contemporary Swedish poets, konkretpoesi.se. Now they are working on a large webproject including poets from Norway, Sweden, Finland and Denmark.

This week a Scandinavian Portal on EPC, edited by the Finnish poet Leevi Lehto was launched. Leevi have gathered a group of people from all the Nordic countries working with him. Its still "under construction", mostly consisting of links to Scandinavian poetry translated into English, but is also supposed to produce its own material.

Scandinavian magazines are publishing poetry from the neighbouring countries regulary and, last but not least, people are meeting. The amount of readings, festivals and seminars collecting poets and editors from the Scandinavian countries have grown remarkably the last five years. Myself I've participated on five such events only this autumn.

There is a lot more I could say about this, hopefully I'll be able to show it on this blog. And by the way, both Mette Moestrup and Leevi Lehto, participating on this blog, have published texts on nypoesi. Moestrup I and II, Lehto I.

Paal Bjelke Andersen said...

An approximate translation of the first text in Moestrup II, "Dagbog i februar 2006" ("Diary in February"): "if I can't write a poem in Danish without writing a Danish poem, / what then does it mean, if I'm writing a poem today, when Danish doesn't mean / Danish, as Danish means/ have meant Danish to me, og when I, every time / I write Danish in Danish, is in doubt about, what the word means - for other / words, like: "other" and "to" and "means" and "it" and "poem" and "is" and "a" / and "for" and "have meant" etc.

Ton van 't Hof said...

Fantastic site, konkretpoesi.se, I've put a link on.