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Fire and Ice: Contemporary Icelandic Poetry. Table of Contents. Introduction 3 Jón Óskar 4 My father and the sea 5

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table of contents
Table of Contents
  • Introduction 3
  • Jón Óskar 4
    • My father and the sea 5
  • Anna S. Björnsdóttir 6
    • Grímsey 7
    • A day in January 8
  • Einar Már Guðmundsson 9
    • we don't get on too well together 10
  • Linda Vilhjálmsdóttir 11
    • drop of blood 12
    • cold and you were not 13
  • Sjón 14
    • Writing is listening to yourself 15
    • Reykjavík 11.03.'80, Dear F 18
  • Gerður Kristný 19
    • Hole In The Ice 20
    • Prayer 21
  • Bibliography 22
introduction
Introduction

Write a well-structured and specifically focused Introductory Essay (500-750 words) in which you discuss contemporary poetic concerns and techniques in the region. Create a tight thesis into which you can introduce your poets: it might have to do with political concerns, stylistic innovations, unusual thematic concerns, etc. Be detailed and specific -- at least two scholarly secondary sources must be cited following MLA Documentation Style. Encyclopedias and dictionaries do not count as scholarly sources.

j n skar
Jón Óskar

Jón Óskar was born in Akranes in 1921. He was associated with the Icelandic Atom Poets. Besides writing poems he wrote short stories, articles and a novel. Also he wrote a many-volumed biography. He died in 1998 (“Jón Óskar”).

Source of biographical information must be cited.

Internal citations must match first word(s) of Bibliography citations. If there is no author listed, use the title as the first word(s) of the citation

j n skar 1921 1998 my father and the sea
Jón Óskar1921- 1998My father and the sea

My daughter picks up shells from the shoreand small pieces of seaweed with white dots and a tiny piece of glass the sea has polished wonderful and seabeaten stones wonderful and tiny shells and the sand is for writing.I have stood on the edge of the ocean.

I see my daughter on the shoreand I’m on the highwayand from the highway I see the seaand the shore and the world are mine

I see my daughter from the shore I play organ for my father and my father sings with emotion “I love the furious ocean”.

I see my father rowing in the open seaI see my father fighting with the oceanon a broken boat in the roar of stormand the death sings in every sparand no one sings: I love the furious ocean.The clock strikes.

I watch my daughter on the shoreand go to her and remove her socksand run with her into the wavesto teach her to know the waves and not to fear them, but she fears them,‘cause they come and go, come and go.The clock strikes.

anna s bj rnsd ttir
Anna S. Björnsdóttir

Born in Reykjavík on November 30, 1948, Björnsdóttir has spent most of her professional life as a teacher. She began publishing poetry in newspapers and magazines in 1985, and her first book of poetry, Örugglega ég (Definitely Me) appeared in 1988.

“She has published a number of poetry collections since then, and her book Mens solen stadig er fremme / Meðan sól er enn á lofti (While the Sun is Still Up) recently came out bilingually in Icelandic and Danish. She has been a member of the Icelandic Writer's Association since 1991, and is one of the poets forming the group ‘Ritlistarhópur Kópavogs’ ” (“Anna S. Björnsdóttir”).

anna s bj rnsd ttir b 1948
Anna S. Björnsdóttirb. 1948

GrímseyFíngerðar snjóflygsur dansafyrir utan glugganní rökkrinuog þrjár konur ræða samanvið englaglugga í SólbrekkuHeitt kaffi á könnunnitónlist úr skólastofunniljóðalestur á Eyjabókasafnihver kona heldur á barni í fanginuEyjan er öll veröldinog snjókornhalda áfram að dansaá rökkurhimni

1993

GrímseyDelicate snowflakes danceoutside the windowin the twilightand three women chatby the angel window in SólbrekkaSteaming coffee in the potmusic from the classroompoetry reading in the libraryeach woman is cradling a childThe island is the whole worldand snowflakeskeep on dancingin the twilight sky

slide8

A day in JanuaryIt is on a day like this onethat understanding blossoms like tree shoots in springnaked feet dance a merry dance in tune with the poemthat rose to the sky in a silent whimperand the breaths turn to years in a heart that beatsheart that lovesIt is on a day like this onethat the shadows disappear from the dreamsyou do not noticethat all of a sudden there is nothing to missand you only want this momentthis change in your lifewhich is constantly changing from one tree to anotherfrom one season to another and everywhere there growleafy branchesIt is on a day like this onethat I love you like the shimmering starsgentleand everything is enveloped in a pale light and you

Janúardagurþað er á degi sem þessumað skilningurinn springur út eins og brum að vorinaktir fætur dansa gleðidans í takt við ljóðiðsem steig upp til himins í orðlausu kjökriog andartökin verða að árum í hjarta sem slærhjarta sem elskarÞað er á degi sem þessumað skuggarnir hverfa úr draumunumþú tekur ekki eftir þvíað allt í einu er einskis að saknaog þú vilt aðeins þessa stund þessi skil í líf þittsem er alltaf að breytast úr einu tré í annaðúr einni árstíð í aðra og alls staðar vaxa þarlaufgaðar greinarÞað er á degi sem þessumað ég elska þig eins og stjörnurnar tindrandiblíðarog allt er umvafið fölhvítu ljósi og þér

einar m r gu mundsson
Einar Már Guðmundsson

Poet and novelist, Einar Már Gudmundsson was born in Reykjavík in 1954. After he earned a BA in Comparative Literature and History from the University of Iceland, he studied Comparative Literature at the University of Copenhagen. One of the best known and most translated Icelandic authors, Gudmundsson's first book appeared in 1980. His widely acclaimed novel Englar alheimsins (Angels of the Universe) received the NordicCouncil Literary Award in 1995. (“Einar Már Gudmundsson”)

einar m r gu mundsson b 1954
Einar Már Guðmundssonb. 1954

From Brushstrokes of BlueTranslated by Bernard Scudder, 1994we don't get on too well togetherwhen I cried outlike christ on the crosswhy hast thou forsaken meyou said: I don't think weget on too well together

linda vilhj lmsd ttir
Linda Vilhjálmsdóttir

Born in 1958 in Reykjavik, Linda Vilhjálmsdóttir was educated as a nurse assistant. Her first book of poetry, Bláþráður(Blue Thread), was published in 1990. Other volumes of poetry include: Klakabörnin (Children of Ice) (1992),Valsar úr síðustu siglingu (Walzes from the Latest Sea Voyage) (1996), andÖll fallegu orðin (All the Beautiful Words) (2000).She was awarded the DV Cultural Prize in 1993 for her book of poetry Klakabörnin. (“LindaVilhjálmsdóttir”).

linda vilhj lmsd ttir b 1958
Linda Vilhjálmsdóttirb. 1958

drop of bloodsplinter of bonepatch of skinlock of hairfracture of a naildust from a firethat broke out last yearbut went out this yearI send you a ghost

linda vilhj lmsd ttir b 19581
Linda Vilhjálmsdóttirb. 1958

cold and you were notwere not you in the coffinwere not a lifeless bodywere not in spirit in the churchyou did not put your icy hand in mine at yourgrave you were not there

kalt og þú varst ekkivarst ekki þú í kistunnivarst ekki líflaus líkamivarst ekki í anda í kirkjunniþú hélst ekki ískaldri hendiþinni um mína við gröfinaþína þú varst ekki þar

slide14

Born in 1962, Sigurjón Birgir Sigurdsson, who made his name as Sjón, is best known in the English-speaking world as the lyricist who wrote the songs for Lars von Trier’s Dancer in the Dark starring Bjork..

In Iceland, however, he is regarded as one of Iceland’s best poets. He has published eleven books of poetry, several novels and plays, scripts for films and television, as well as lyrics

for singer Björk. He has also written lyrics for “Anna and the Moods” with music by Julian Nott for the Brodsky Quartet (“Brodsky”)

As a young man, he joined the Surrealist

Performance Group, Medusa, and ran its art gallery.

“Sjón's poetry is often characterized as surrealistic, or fantastic, and often makes high demands on the reader. A reviewer once said his poems were an almost cruel onslaught on the empathy of the well-meaning reader and his words did not seem to know their proper place.” (Vermeijden)

Sjón
sj n b 1962
Sjónb.1962

Writing is listening to yourself

Once I overheard two men talking. One had a red beard and hair down to his knees, the other was the contrary. The angry one spoke in such a loud voice that the passengers could not mistake that he was either drunk or getting over the same flu as half of them.Anyway, what he said was something like this:Writing is listening to yourself listening to yourself.Once I overheard two men talking. One had a red beard and hair down to his knees, the other was the contrary. This happened on a bus on the way down to town from Breidholt, and as you had obviously all guessed, it was snowing heavily all around it at the traffic lights on Mjódd.Anyway, the grumpy one spoke in such a loud voice that the passengers could not mistake that he was either drunk or getting over the same flu as half of them.And what he said was something like this:Writing is listening to yourself listening to yourself listening to other people.

slide16

Once I overheard two men talking. One had a red beard and hair down to his knees, the other was the contrary. This happened on a bus on the way down to town from Breidholt, either number twelve or thirteen, it was snowing heavily all around it at the traffic lights on Mjódd (which was just a marsh then).The terrified passengers stared into their cupped hands and whispered in such low voices that no one could hear, but everyone saw the steam rising from their lips: "Will this morning never end?"Anyway, the angry one spoke in such a loud voice that the passengers could not mistake that he was either drunk or getting over the same flu as half of them.And what he said was something like this:Writing is listening to yourself listening to yourself listening to other people talking about themselves.Once I overheard two people talking. One had a bushy beard and hair down to his knees, the other was the contrary. This happened on a bus on the way down to town from Breidholt, as you had obviously all guessed, and it was snowing heavily all around it at the traffic lights on Mjódd.Anyway, the evil-looking one spoke in such a loud voice that the passengers could not mistake that he was either drunk or getting over the same flu as half of them.And what he said was something like this:

slide17

"Here on this bus is a young man, if man is the right word since he's just a youngster, he's got books in a bag, yes, those are books that he's got in his bag. Just so that you know, he's trying to sell those books, and since we're getting snowed in at these traffic lights here I just want to say that I've read it..."Then the other one gave him a nudge and spat out:"Shut up, that's Sjón ..."2001Translated by Bernard Scudder

sj n b 19621
Sjónb.1962

Reykjavík 11.03.'80Kæra F-Í nótt dreymdi mig að þú klipptir af þérallt hárið og gerðir úr því rúm sem viðelskuðumst í. Á veggnum á móti var spegillog þegar ég fékk fullnægingu þá sá ég íhonum að þú varst ekki lengur hjá mér.Þú sast í stól og lakkaðir á þér neglurnarmeð grænu naglalakki unnu úr engisprettum.Þú sagðir: Rauð hús eru þínar konur.Þá vaknaði ég við það að ég beit mig íöxlina. Klukkan var hálf sjö.Annars er allt gott að frétta, hér er kalt en samt nógu heitt fyrir gömul tígrisdýr.Bless, þinn vinurSigurjón

Reykjavík 11.03.'80Dear F-Last night I dreamt that you cut off allyour hair and made a bed out of it that wemade love in. On the wall facing us was a mirrorand when I had an orgasm I saw in it thatyou were no longer beside me.You were sitting in a chair, doing your nailsusing green varnish made out of locusts.You said: Red houses are your women.Then I woke up because I was biting my ownshoulder. It was half past six.Anyway, all is well, it is cold but still warm enough for old tigers.Bye, bye, your friendSigurjón]

ger ur kristn

A native of Reykjavik, Kristnýwas born in 1970. Her published works include Ísfrétt (Ice Report,

poems, 1994), Regnbogi í póstinum

(A Rainbow in the Post, novel, 1996), Eitruð epli (Poisoned Apples, short stories, 1998), and Launkofi (Hideaway, poems, 2000).

A critic says of her poems: “They

reveal solitude, the quest for strong self-awareness and a yearning for independence. A woman seeks to release herself from the shackles that

society has imposed on her and

rejects her conventional role, but her dissidence is often doomed to failure” (Valdimarsdóttir).

Gerður Kristný
ger ur kristn b 1970
Gerður Kristnýb. 1970

Hole In The IceDrift ice in your eyeshoarfrost in your heartyour handsuntamed sled dogsabove usa moon poisesamid starstargetsurrounded by holesmade by darts that strayed

Trans. 2001

slide21

PrayerRecall you stillbefore going to bedsometimesI say a prayerthat only includes youand dreams about a tiny boatRecall you alsowhen whetting the knifeknow that the shortest wayto a man's heartgoes straight throughhis chest

Trans. 2001

bibliography
Bibliography

“Anna S. Björnsdóttir” 2001. Icelandic Literature. Reykjavik City Library. 13 July 2004.

< http://www.borgarbokasafn.is/enskur/literature.nsf/form/rithofundur.html?

Openform&id=2FF7EE9B28FB794800256D79005144F1 >

Björnsdottir, Anna S. "Grímsey" ("Grimsey"). Qtd. in Sigurðarsson, Sölvi Björn. "The Poetry of

Anna S. Björnsdóttir." Trans. Dagmar Gunnarsson. 2002. Icelandic Literature.

Reykjavik City Library. 13 July 2004.

< http://www.borgarbokasafn.is/enskur/literature.nsf/pages/rithofundur0469 >.

_____. " Janúardagur" ("A Day in January"). Qtd. in Sigurðarsson, Sölvi Björn. "The Poetry of

Anna S. Björnsdóttir." Trans. Dagmar Gunnarsson. 2002. Icelandic Literature.

Reykjavik City Library. 13 July 2004.

< http://www.borgarbokasafn.is/enskur/literature.nsf/pages/rithofundur0469 >.

slide23

"Brodsky Quartet." Arts View. 2003. 13 July 2004.

< http://www.artsview.org.uk/directory/Event_brodskyquartet81.html >

"Einar Már Guðmundsson." 2001. Icelandic Literature. Reykjavik City Library. 11 Sept. 2004.

< http://www.borgarbokasafn.is/enskur/literature.nsf/form/rithofundur.html?

Openform&id=B8414687B29BC2EC00256AE4004F84D4 >

Guðmundsson, Einar Már. "we don't get on too well together." Brushstrokes of Blue.

Trans. Bernard Scudder, 1994. Icelandic Literature. Reykjavik City Library.

< http://www.borgarbokasafn.is/enskur/literature.nsf/pages/rithofundur0092 >.

Kristný, Gerður. " Hole in the Ice." Trans. Poems in North Words: Poetry, Fiction and Reviews.

The View from the North. 26 (2001). Icelandic Literature. Reykjavik City Library.

10 July 2004.

< http://www.bokmenntir.is/enskur/literature.nsf/form/skodabok.html?

openform&id=DFD3DE5289F3B18A00256AEE004F4CA9 >.

slide24

Kristný, Gerður. " Prayer." Trans. Poems in North Words: Poetry, Fiction and Reviews.

The View from the North. 26 (2001). Icelandic Literature. Reykjavik City Library.

10 July 2004.

< http://www.bokmenntir.is/enskur/literature.nsf/form/skodabok.html?

openform&id=DFD3DE5289F3B18A00256AEE004F4CA9 >.

"Jón Óskar." Student Exchange: MENNTASKÓLINN Í REYKJAVÍK & EXTERNAT DES

ENFANTS NANTAIS. 11 July 2004.

< http://www.ismennt.is/not/gk/mreden/en/jon_oskar.htm >

“LindaVilhjálmsdóttir.” Icelandic Literature. Reykjavik City Library. 14 July 2004.

< http://www.borgarbokasafn.is/enskur/literature.nsf/form/rithofundur.html?

Openform&id=78C328D9CFB97ACE00256DC8004CF4A4 >.

slide25

Óskar, Jón. "My Father and the sea." Student Exchange: MENNTASKÓLINN Í REYKJAVÍK &

EXTERNAT DES ENFANTS NANTAIS. 11 July 2004.

< http://www.ismennt.is/not/gk/mreden/en/jon_oskar.htm >.

Sigurðarsson, Sölvi Björn. "The Poetry of Anna S. Björnsdóttir." Trans. Dagmar

Gunnarsson. 2002. Icelandic Literature. Reykjavik City Library. 13 July 2004.

< http://www.borgarbokasafn.is/enskur/literature.nsf/pages/rithofundur0469 >.

Sjón. "Kaera F" ("Dear F"). Qtd. in "'I want you to picture me': dark creatures, red threads and

Sjón" by Úlfhildur Dagsdóttir. Icelandic Literature. Reykjavik City Library.

11 July 2004. < http://www.borgarbokasafn.is/enskur/literature.nsf/

pages/rithofundur0520 >.

_____. "Writing is listening to yourself." Trans. Bernard Scudder. Icelandic Literature.

Reykjavik City Library. 11 July 2004. < http://www.borgarbokasafn.is/

enskur/literature.nsf/pages/rithofundur0389 >.

slide26

Valdimarsdóttir, Alda Björk. "Who Killed Snow White? On the Poetry and Fiction of Gerður

Kristný." Trans. Bernard Scudder. 2001. Icelandic Literature. Reykjavik City Library.

10 July 2004.

< http://www.borgarbokasafn.is/enskur/literature.nsf/pages/rithofundur0174 >.

Vermeijden, Paula. " Sjón."Trans. Ko Kooman. 1999. Poetry International Web. 11 July 2004.

< http://www.poetryinternational.org/cwolk/view/15977 >.

Vilhjálmsdóttir, Linda. "cold and you were not." Öll fallegu orðin [All the Beautiful Words].

2000. Qtd. in ""If I Had Written a Poem to You": All the Beautiful Words of Linda

Vilhjálmsdóttir" by Úlfhildur Dagsdóttir. Icelandic Literature. Reykjavik City Library.

14 July 2004. < http://www.borgarbokasafn.is/enskur/literature.nsf/pages/index.html >.

_____. "drop of blood." Nordic Poetry Week: Kunming China. 2004. 14 July

2004. < http://www.tcgnordica.org/poet/12.html >.