readings: saga means to say

The technological proximal: A collaborative project setting all of Joyce’s Finnegans Wake to music.

Tomas Tranströmer is dead. I’m going to translate one of his poems.

“Drömde att jag körde tjugo mil förgäves.
Då förstorades allt. Sparvar stora som höns
sjöng så att det slog lock för öronen.

Drömde att jag ritat upp pianotangenter
på köksbordet. Jag spelade på dem, stumt.
Grannarna kom in för att lyssna.”

As I read his obituary I was led to an album recorded by his daughter, Emma. Together with composer Maurice Karkoff, she set some of her father’s poems to music. Tranströmer was also a pianist, and when he suffered a stroke and lost functionality in his right side, Karkoff composed pieces just for his left hand. The album, Dagsmeja, is like the midday sun that melts the snow. After discovering Karkoff, I discovered also that he died in 2013.

Kenzie Allen’s poem Solgangsbris also draws inspiration from attenuated meterological terminology.

Give me these new desires
swift and shifting and ocean-
reaching, plains-conquering
as the wind at sundown, the
solgangsbris which carries
the tide and cools the skin
and makes me also a
valley, also a vessel, also
vast and remaining and full.


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