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LP

Christensen, Inger

Butterfly Valley. A Requiem

A collection of four beautiful and innovative works of poetry. Inger Christensen, often cited as a Nobel contender and one of Europe´s most revered poets, is perhaps best known for her groundbreaking work Det (It), a cycle of poems published in 1969. Her first book published in the US, alphabet (New Directions, 2001), met with a tremendous response: "Seductive," said Boston Review. "A visionary reincarnation of the natural world in the atomic age," wrote The Chicago Review. Butterfly Valley: A Requiem collects four medium-length works, each startling for its beauty and formal innovation. "Butterfly Valley" is a sonnet cycle in which the glowing colors and beauty of butterflies are described, and yet also their obvious fragility and mortality: memory is uncovered in the poem like the fluttering of their wings. In "Watersteps," the fountains and piazzas of Rome coalesce, brought alive by the imagination in the poem´s shifting rhythms, lines, and overall structure. In "Poem on Death" the poet seeking immortality faces the whiteness of the page as the blankness of death: "it feels so odd/ immodest to think/ about death when no one/ you know has died/ it means that each time/ you look at yourself in the mirror/ you look death in the eye/ without crying/ like a clear and fully/ comprehensible answer/ but to questions/ you dare not ask." "Meeting" describes a "coming together," yet examines our failure to connect and the ability of language to overcome this. It is written in extended sections, with pathos, anger, and sly humor.

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