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Waitress in Fall
Translated by Vala Thorodds
Categories: 20th Century, 21st Century, Language, Translation, Women
Imprint: Carcanet Poetry
Publisher: Carcanet Press
For over three decades, the work of Kristín Ómarsdóttir has thrived in the vanguard of Icelandic literature. Waitress in Fall offers anglophone readers the first substantial selection of her poems in translation. Spanning thirty years and seven collections – from her first to her latest – this wide-reaching introduction celebrates a vital voice in contemporary European poetry.
Kristín Ómarsdóttir’s work resists the sweet, the neat or the certain. Her poems delight in the lush mess of actual life, in its hands and fingers, lemons and clocks, socks, soldiers, snow, knives, mothers, nightstands, sweat, and crockery. The domestic is at the heart of the poems, but it is a domesticity tinged with threat: something ‘clear and ominous’ persists between the lines.
These are surreal, unsettling landscapes, in which children lap milk from trees and car tyres are ‘soft as skin’. But Kristín’s poems are also full of laughter, sex, and love. They accept vulnerability as a condition of intimacy. Erupting ‘wherever thirst is ignited’, they are not afraid to strike, to rage, recognising a right – a responsibility – to risk the necessary word, even to ‘wound the language’.
'Waitress in Fall anthologizes the verse of Kristín Ómarsdóttir in English translation for the first time. As the book's translator, Valgerður deftly renders the lucid and often erotic lyricism of Ómarsdóttir's poetry into unpretentious, yet dignified English idiom, producing a volume that exhibits the poet's unique subjectivity and gestures towards universal impulses.'
Eli Petzold, The Reykjavik Grapevine 'A bracing, beautiful book... Ómarsdóttir excels at creating pleasurable tension. These poems are like "icecold milk", pure yet animal; invigorating to consume.'
Clare Pollard 'The world is so ready for the phantasmic heft of Kristín Ómarsdóttir. Her poems are transcribed dreams: too wet to be dirty, and absurdly funny - "in a lightless girlhole" - while deeply serious. Waitress in Fall does it all. Ómarsdóttir's poems are gigantically passionate, macabre, timely, glorious, and real.'
Eileen Myles 'It's a unique volume that presents the reader with a remarkable picture of a poet's career. Kristín's unmistakable voice escorts the reader from early leaps into middle-aged maturity, with lines that trip into one another, passing swiftly from lightness to despair and back again... As the poems drive the reader onward through the decades, passing haunting landscapes, surreal scenes of domestic life and shrines to the physicality of womanhood, there is a sense of rhythm and voice that carries throughout.'
Björn Halldórsson, The Reykjavík Grapevine
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