One of Scandinavia’s most honored poets, veteran Danish writer Christensen originally published her book-length Alphabet 20 years ago to great acclaim; this . Inger Christensen () was both a virtuoso and a paradox. Her fiction, drama, essays and children’s books won her wide acclaim in Denmark and other . Inger Christensen’s alphabet is built up under two formal constraints. It is an alphabetical sequence: each of the fourteen sections essentially begins with a.

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However, there are moments when she seems to sense that language is equally pregnant with the possibility of being meaningless even “namelessness has a name” or even violent.

alphabet [excerpt] by Inger Christensen – Poems |

As the poem progresses and each section lengthens, an increasing number of elements related to destruction, death, and ecological devastation are introduced. Some books of poems charge forward relentlessly, and do it well; this book bends backward on itself so many times that you are surprised to find yourself where you started, but not really, and very much changed.

People often use the term “world-building” when discussing fantasy novelists, e. It created a rhythmic chant that gave the work a strong sense of cohesion. Apr 27, Alessandra rated it it was amazing. Account Options Sign in. Forgetting about the first two num Inger Christensen’s alphabet is built up under two formal constraints. Several times, she suggests that silence might be the truest expression.

By using this site, you agree to the Terms of Use and Privacy Policy. 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 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.

Inger Christensen

Alphabet deals with themes of nuclear war and ecological devastation. Jul 10, Hallie rated it it was amazing Recommended to Hallie by: Other editions – View all aophabet Inger Christensen Limited preview – I don’t generally read a lot of poetry at a sitting, but I read this book almost straight through granted, it’s very short and enjoyed it a lot. Pages containing links to subscription-only content Articles containing Danish-language text Pages to import images to Wikidata.


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.

I am amazed at her use of the Fibonacci sequence to structure the poem. With that said, I wish I could chrkstensen and understand the original. Verse, I would imagine, would likely be one of the most difficult mediums to translate but I thought the translator did a fairly good job. The English translation surprisingly maintained a lot of the alliteration and, even when it didn’t, the translator’s choice of words still felt purposeful, weighty, and poetically luscious.

Return to Book Page. In addition, the Fibonacci sequence is the basis of the structure of many of the sections themselves, as they are often divided into additional sections of Fibonacci-number length. The genius of this work can be found not only in the mathematically inspired composition, but in Nied’s brilliant translation The febrile fugue of natural history that alights on each letter of cyristensen first half of the alphabet until “n”–infinity is alphabett clearly a spiral.

This page was last edited on 15 Aprilat View all 8 comments. Refresh and try again. I would recommend this book to anyone. Christensen first became known to a wider Inger Christensen was born in Vejle, Denmark, in Her award-winning alphabet is based structurally on Jan 17, metaphor rated it alphqbet liked it Shelves: Feb 25, Carolyn Hembree rated it it was amazing Shelves: Retrieved from ” https: I began this book with some preconceived notions from zlphabet back of the book: I was entirely wrong–Christensen’s work is delicate and flowing, weaved with beautiful, specific language.


alphabet [excerpt]

There is a constant echoing, but not clumsy or overbearing; just enough to convincingly bind the fragmented sections of the poem. This made the pacing interesting, allowing me to read it in one sitting without getting bored of it. The genius of this work can be found not only in the mathematically inspired composition, but in Nied’s brilliant translation.

I’m probably missing a ton in the structure of it, not just the Fibonacci series structure [the importance of the Fibonacci numbers in nature is fascinating by the way] but the repetitions and echoes. Inger touches on a lot of deeper psychological themes throughout this book, which many annoy or chrstensen engage the reader.

The work stops with the letter n, itself a mathematical symbol, which, as the 14th letter of the alphabet, generates a poem of lines. Just a moment while we sign you onger to your Goodreads account. Jun 02, Sara rated it it was amazing Shelves: With any translated pieces, I am always skeptical of what is lost and kept. Nov 23, Richelle Wilson rated it it was amazing. The last section, “N”, has Nov 13, C. The story of her life and work offers access to a poetry that is difficult and enigmatic, but simultaneously simple and elementary.

She mentions trees from the very outset; the garden that blossoms up from her stanzas soon includes elder trees, cicadas, eider ducks, apple blossoms, and many more examples of life that flourish in the lines.

Guided by a fertile blend of mathematical and grammatical principles, Christensen uses this book’s slim page length to construct an astonishingly intricate world from How is it possible that Danish poet Inger Christensen did not win the Nobel Prize in Literature?? Books by Inger Christensen. New Directions Publishing Amazon.