30 desember 2006


þessa hriflu um tvö af ensku smákverunum mínum rétt í þessu, var að goggla sjálfa mig eins og ég geri stundum, því þá finn ég líka stundum svona gersemar.

Contemporary Poetry With An Eye Towards Resistance

The Messenger and The World
Birgitta Jonsdottir
Beyond Borders
$15.00 - The Messenger
No price info. - The World

Beyond Borders Chapbook Series is the publisher of the two most recent chapbooks by Birgitta Jonsdottir. Adding to the imaginative appeal of her words, is the artwork, also the creation of the poet. Birgitta is from Iceland. She brings with her work a voice that transcends borders and speaks to those seeking peace in a world far removed from it. Her poetry reflects on the gods and goddesses of an Icelandic past, as it intones the future.

With articulate skill, she draws our attention to social and environmental concerns; the fact she does this so well in a language other than her own is another reason to praise her writing. Here is yet another reason: within the pages of these two collections, she gives voice to issues that touch our souls, as she reflects on the world that is the place of our both our dreams and our collective nightmares.

Take a few moments to consider these opening lines in Huginn og Muninn—

"The black bodies of the ravens,
touching boundaries of time.

Scanning for news . . .

They feed on knowledge,
feed on gossip,
spit it in the hungry ears of Odin."

"They even soar within the undreamt dreams,
and within the thoughts that are being born."

Asgardur is a dwelling recreated that reverberates with gods, misrembered by mankind:

"There are the glorious palaces
of forgotten times.
There you can drink the magic brew
Sweet with honey dew
-soothe the soul."

"The Gods play with their powers
seductively raw
soft or brutal.

The Gods of elemental nature.
Mirrors of our desires."

From her chapbook, The World, the poem Heroes reminds us of the true heroes too often overlooked in the jumble of news headlines that intrude upon the contemporary conscious mind:

"It takes courage beyond words,
to settle on a new soil,
where all that was is not
but a distant memory. . .

The true heroes of the our world,
leave behind their small fortunes,
their education,
their family,
their culture. . .

wash dishes,
clean toilets,
work the fish.
with doctor degrees,
in our Western World."

"They are the voices that build bridges
between cultures
Embrace our differences."

Birgitta's poem, Horror of War, focuses on the repugnance of war and the abhorrent reality that defines it. It is a piece dedicated to a child who died during the opening days of the Iraq war. Here is a section of the poem:

"Headless bodies
Burned flesh
Smell of decay
a wedding band
on a slim delicate finger
Shades of memories
a future that can never be

A lonely head in a lush green field
eyes wide open
In the hollow a reflection
of untold love …

These are images
we should put in a frame
Mount them in our homes
so we never forget;
the true horror of war"

Finally, in The Shadows, once more the poet's use of imagery resonates with intensity as it transcends the ordinary:

"Heart shaped clouds
cry of ravens
A mysterious union of souls
weaving bright threads
between worlds
between the hearts of the poets

We were ripe

Now it is all gone
washed away in
oceans of lies . . ."

Birgitta Jonsdottir was born in 1967, in Reykjavik, Iceland. She has lived in Denmark, Sweden, Norway, England, the United States, Australia and New Zealand. Her poetry has been translated into 12 languages and has been published in anthologies, TV, radio, magazines, newspapers, and on the Internet. She is a member of United Poets and the Icelandic Writers Union. You may buy her books through Beyond Borders. Birgitta now lives in Iceland and is busy working on a number of projects (as well as translating two books of poetry).

Terry Lowenstein

©2006 The Centrifugal Eye - Collected Works - All Rights Reserved.

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