Wednesday, January 13, 2010

Aase Berg's Remainland

Remainland is Aase Berg's selected poems. I read her book, With Deer a couple months ago, and liked it so much I found her only other book that has been translated into English, Remainland.

Berg's poems are some of the strangest that I've read. Johannes Goransson, her translator says, "Aase Berg's poetry is impossible to make into natural-sounding English because it is not natural-sounding in Swedish." I agree, it is not natural-sounding, but it is charming. She is a poet that seems to have a lot of fun with words, and I love the unique world she created. It is full of wooded landscapes with various animals (guinea pigs, lemurs, whales, hares)as enemies, allies, or even offspring.

My favorite poems were from her book Transfer Fat, which were poems about pregnancy, although I didn't realize that at first. I am always talking about how fat my cats are, so I really enjoyed these poems. The poet compares being pregnant to being a whale, but it isn't in the usual derogatory way. It actually makes the whale comparison seem natural and complimentary. The baby is called a hare throughout these poems, which is adorable.

I couldn't find any of the poems from this part of the book online, so here is one of my favorites from Transfer Fat:

Hole Whale

Whales want water
hollow in water
lightness in fatness
flight in blubber

Some of my other favorites in this book:

Logging Time (The middle poem on this page)

X Ray (The poem after the picture of glowing Lemurs, ha!)

The only thing I didn't like about the poems is Berg's sometimes including bodily fluids, which is usually fine, but I could do without diarrhea and vomit. However, it is worth having a couple of unpleasant moments reading when the rest of the book is delightful to read.

If you want to read a review of Berg's other book, With Deer, Rebecca Louden has a good review over at Galatea Resurrects.


At 10:21 AM, Blogger beth coyote said...

OOO, oh yes. Enjoyed her linked word play.


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