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Dog Star Notations
Selected Poems 1999 - 2016
Translated by Bill Coyle
Categories: 20th Century, 21st Century, Scandinavian, Translation
Imprint: Carcanet Poetry
Publisher: Carcanet Press
Paperback (105 pages)
(Pub. Mar 2016)
Poetry rejoices even if the culture dies,
over the girl with her first electric, how her high,
thin voice, amplified many times
over by the loudspeaker, is like a giant’s
in the green grass of the festival site.
from ‘Poetry rejoices...’
Dog Star Notations collects highlights from almost two decades of Håkan Sandell’s poetry. Drawing on seven collections and completed by a selection of new work, this volume is the unrivalled Anglophone introduction to one of contemporary Sweden’s finest poets. The poems are Retrogardist, a term Sandell first used in the nineties to signal his rejection of Post-Modernist styles and a return to the perennial resources of symbol, metre and rhyme. Since then he has developed, as his translator puts it, ‘a verse music very much his own, at once improvisatory and incantatory’. A sometimes withering critic of contemporary society, Sandell is also a compassionate, even reverent observer. In his adopted Oslo, ‘New Babylon cruises in its subdued/Nordic Social Democratic vein’, mixing with ‘the remains of the Norwegian working class’ and the new arrivals of the past two decades, from Africa, Asia, the Middle East. In love with the material world, yet inspired by the mysticisms of the world’s religions (great and small, orthodox and heterodox), Håkan Sandell comes across in these poems as a streetwise theosophist, alive to beauty and cruelty everywhere, compelled to make music of both.
Awards won by Bill Coyle Winner, 2006 Fellowship from the National Endowment for the Arts Winner, 2006 New Criterion Poetry Prize
'He is a master fencer. With swift moves, and a clear mind. He is master director of photography, beautifully controlling our perception. This is Haakan Sandell.'
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