Read alphabet (New Directions) by Inger Christensen Free Online
Book Title: alphabet (New Directions)|
The author of the book: Inger Christensen
ISBN: No data
ISBN 13: No data
Edition: New Directions
Date of issue: May 17th 2001
Format files: PDF
The size of the: 17.98 MB
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Reader ratings: 6.1
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A startling and gorgeous work by Denmark's most admired poet finally available in English translation.
Awarded the American-Scandinavian PEN Translation Prize by Michael Hamburger, Susanna Nied's translation of alphabet introduces Inger Christensen's poetry to US readers for the first time. Born in 1935, Inger Christensen is Denmark's best known poet. Her award-winning alphabet is based structurally on Fibonacci's sequence (a mathematical sequence in which each number is the sum of the two previous numbers), in combination with the alphabet. The gorgeous poetry herein reflects a complex philosophical background, yet has a visionary quality, discovering the metaphysical in the simple stuff of everyday life. In alphabet, Christensen creates a framework of psalm-like forms that unfold like expanding universes, while crystallizing both the beauty and the potential for destruction that permeate our times.
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Read information about the authorInger Christensen was born in Vejle, Denmark, in 1935. Initially she studied medicine, but then trained as a teacher and worked at the College of Art in Holbæck from 1963–64. Although she has also written a novel, stories, essays, radio plays, a drama and an opera libretto, Christensen is primarily known for her linguistically skilled and powerful poetry.
Christensen first became known to a wider audience with the volumes "Lys" (1962; Light) and "Græs" (1963; Grass), which are much influenced by the modernistic imagery of the 60s, and in which she is concerned with the location of the lyric "I" in relation to natural and culturally created reality. The flat, regular landscape of Denmark, its plants and animals, the beach, the sea, the snow-filled winters have determined the topography of many of her poems. Christensen has also been known internationally since the appearance of the long poem "Det" (1969; "it" 2006), a form of creative report on the merger of language and the world, which centres around the single word "it" and covers more than two hundred pages. The book clearly reveals the influence on Christensen's poetic work of such a range of authors as Lars Gustafsson, Noam Chomsky, Viggo Brøndal, R.D. Laing and Sören Kierkegaard. The analogy between the development of poetic language and the growth of life is, as in "Det", also the basic motif of the volume of poetry "Alfabet" (1981; Alphabet). In addition to the alphabet itself – which gives the book its title and provides a logical arrangement for its fourteen sections –, the structure is generated by the so-called Fibonacci series, in which every number consists of the sum of the preceding two. The composition reflects the theme exactly: while "Det" points to the story of creation and its "In the beginning was the Word", here the alphabet is a pointer to the "A and O" of the apocalypse.
The story of her life and work offers access to a poetry that is difficult and enigmatic, but simultaneously simple and elementary. Inger Christensen is one of the most reflecting, form-conscious poets of the present day, and her history of ideas also provides information on the paradox of lyric art; making legible through poetic means what must necessary remain illegible, and in this way wrestling a specific order from the universal labyrinth. Here the transitions between the poet and the essayist Christensen are fluid: just as lyrical figures and motifs give her essays a density of their own, figures of thought and configurations of ideas return as an organic component of the poems.
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