1st - 7th October 2012

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Morten Søndergaard

Morten Sondergaard

Morten Søndergaard (born 1964) is one of the foremost of the generation of Danish poets to emerge onto the scene in the early Nineties. Søndergaard's first collection of poetry, Sahara i mine hænder (Sahara In My Hands) was published in 1992. This debut collection has been followed by a succession of works which have won him both critical acclaim and a number of literary awards.

Language is Morten Søndergaard's medium and his métier, one which he practises not only as a poet, but also as a translator, sound artist and literary editor. And while his craft is solidly rooted in the classic poetic tradition he is constantly intent on exploring the possibilities of language and new ways in which these can be presented.

Over the years, alongside his written publications, this has resulted in musical and dramatic works and in recordings, exhibitions and installations centring on language and sound. Morten Søndergard's most recent publication is Processen og det halve kongerige (The Process and Half the Kingdom) (2010).

 

From: A step in the right direction, 2005
Translated from the Danish by Barbara J. Haveland

23/9
Natten er her igen.
Nogen har lukket mig inde i kontroltårnet og smidt nøglerne
væk. Ord beder om landingstilladelse. Kom ind.
Jeg tror på ordenes sammensværgelser bag om ryggen
på syntaksen.
Der er kun at blive ved.
For fuld udblæsning. Håbe på at det går. Selv om vi ingen steder
har at gå hen. Skriver som aftenlyset der river afgrunde
op i alle farver. Et spektrum fra violet til fosforiserende grønt.
Et lys falder på de ord som står her. Jeg går
op i bjergene med en usynlig hund og skriver et digt.

*

23/9

The night is here again.
Someone has let me in to the control tower and thrown the keys
away.  Words request permission to land.  Come in.
I believe in the conspiracies of the words behind the back
of the syntax.
You just have to keep going.
Full throttle.  Hope it goes okay.  Even though we've nowhere
to go.  Write like the evening light that rips open chasms
in all the colours.  A spectrum from violet to phosphorescent green.
A light falls on the words inscribed here.  I walk
up into the mountains with an invisible dog and write a poem.

*

24/9
Gulvene siger: Hej fødder.
Vi går og hedder noget: Kontrapunkt, bristepunkt, smeltepunkt.
Tiden afvikler sit program, den løber, den går, den står
stille:
Kroppen falder fremad i sit ettal, for alting
er skrånende, alting
er blind tillid til gulve, tillid til dig,
jeg går tilbage, skridt
for skridt, jeg sidder på toilettet i min farmors badeværelse,
et gulv af gule,
brune og blå rektangulære kakler, kakler, en måde
at falde i staver på, aflange staver af kakkelmateriale,
og der på toilettet i tankerne skære kaklerne fri
og lægge dem tilbage
i gulvet, i nye mønstre,
langt mere tilfredsstillende mønstre, i begyndelsen var
mønsteret,
den gule, brune og blå følelse mod fodsålerne,
tilfældige formuleringer, tilløb til figuration, her og der spor
af en blomst med kronblade, et ansigt, en kakerlak, en kniv
eller en skruetrækker ville kunne det,
brække dem løs, kaklerne, men det er umuligt, fødderne

acceptere alle slags gulve, alle gangbare overflader.
Vi leder efter steder at gå ud fra. Gulvet er et udgangspunkt.
Stedet er den gåendes
faste bopæl. Fornemmelsen for sted. Dette sted: Vi.
Vi lukker luften ud af stedet, som af et badedyr,
og bærer det med os.

*

24/9
The floors say: Hello, feet.
We go by names: counterpoint, breaking point, melting point.
Time runs its programme, it goes by, it passes, it stands
still:
The body tips forward in its figure One, for everything is
sloping, everything
comes down to blind faith in floors, faith in you,
I walk back, step
by step, I sit on the toilet in my grandmother's bathroom, a ground of brown,
yellow and blue rectangular tiles, tiles, a way of
falling into a brown study, studying brown and yellow and blue oblongs of tile
and there in the toilet in my thoughts cut the tiles free and lay them out again
on the floor, in new patterns,
far more satisfying patterns, in the beginning was the pattern,
the brown and yellow and blue sensation on the soles of the feet,
random formulations, run-up to figuration, here and there hints
of a flower with petals, a face, a cockroach, a knife
or a screwdriver would do it,
prise them loose, the tiles, but it can't be done, these feet
must
accept all sorts of floors, all negotiable surfaces.
We search for places.  The floor is a starting point.
The place is the walker's
fixed abode.  A sense of place.  This place: We.
We let the air out of this place, as if from a beach toy,
and take it with us.


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