Shuddhashar: What is that You strive to explore and convey through your poetry?
Eldrid Lunden: Writing poetry is for me a rather slow process. Since the existential questions are few, the poet’s “answers” will at best show variations in experience and knowledge. Then the Swiss psychiatrist Carl Gustav Jung once said: Man’s duty is to create consciousness. Yes. But perhaps we might add that a poet’s interpretation of her own text is of little interest. Anyhow, I never published mine.
Shuddhashar: How do you interpret the present world, and how have current events spurred you write?
Eldrid Lunden: My poems often are inspired by readings. Our dialogue with “the present world” will be included in our writing whether we are aware of it or not. Only the poem can tell how.
Shuddhashar: What literary pieces – poetry, fiction or non-fiction – and writers have informed and inspired your own writing? And how have they done so?
Eldrid Lunden: I learned early to know classic Norwegian literature, and I was exposed to the Bible in many ways. I was deeply moved by the story of Jesus Christ: How could a good and wise man be hated, tortured, and killed? I still ask that question.
As a student I read William Blake, Robert Frost, Emily Dickinson, Edith Södergran, Gunnar Ekelöf, and I read Japanese, Chinese, Eskimo, Indian, and Sufi poems in translation. Then I read philosophy, history, and popular science books about social, psychological, and political questions.
Shuddhashar: In what way do your personal identity and experiences shape your poetry?
Eldrid Lunden: I’m afraid I have no good answer to the question.
Shuddhashar: How do you use structure, language and grammer to accentuate the message of your poetry. Do you subscribe to conventions or break them?
Eldrid Lunden: We are always dependent on conventions, and language needs renewal from time to time. “Breaking rules” in writing poetry is a complicated question. We don`t choose or plan a surprise, do we?
Shuddhashar: What is your opinion about conflicts and solidarities between political poetry and the literary and artistic values of poetry?
Eldrid Lunden: There should be no conflict. Artistic values may include “everything”. But this ability, or quality, doesn’t itself make a poem more or less good, bad, intelligent, romantic, political, valuable etc. The poet’s talent is what counts.
Shuddhashar: Does your poems transcend national boundaries? Does it appeal to different nationalities or linguistic groups?
Eldrid Lunden: A few books of mine have been translated into Danish, Swedish, German, and English. You may also find single poems in European periodicals.
From The Flock and the Shadow (2005)
Translated from Norsk: Annabelle Despard
The heath in the animal’s path
Shadows in the snow
at dusk. Two animals out in open
I stand by the window
in the snow in the soundless eye
Two deer interrupted me
It’s too early and it’s too late
as incomprehensible as it is beautiful
I would like to place these fields on the sheet
I realise that the roe deer pertains to the issue
And that the flight of birds across my vision is a formula for joy
Listening test against snow
Something is scratching in the missing sound
And I who have hardly ever seen a bear!
Only bear hunters
From a room underneath the night, come piercing screams, now
he is tormenting the animals again
New waves of screams
I tear open the door to the cellar. The inner door is heavily
blocked. I manage to get the stones away, but
it takes longer than I thought. Someone’s shouting
as the door gives away. I see him standing there. In grey clothes
Face turned away. The usual
The new shadow is a shadow
The new shadow is a flame and
even though the horizon is a curve pointing
downwards, the shadow and the flame converge
now, moving each other as shadow in
shadow, keeping the tree alive, upright
The shadow flickering
The animals of the forest have fixed resting places
and the best view
of the animal’s inner world
The polar bear drifts along the shores
wherever the wind, currents and food take him
Life’s greatest danger lies in the fact that man’s food
consists entirely of souls
Bin Laden, bin Laden, bin Laden … humming
in the quiet September woods
the small sound icing
through is not a new mobile phone. It’s
a bird, I think, and notice my head turning
slowly following this thought
I look at high Afghan mountains. And a picture of men in white robes. I think of Afghan deserts and rivers and blood in the sand. I think of pictures of bin Laden in a cave, high up in the snowy mountain where he holds an oddly short gun that can reach the end of the world. I think of laser beams on their way to find him. In American newspapers I read that Clinton has grabbed all the credit of the Manhattan ground while Bush was hiding. In Norwegian papers I read about bin Laden on holiday on Costa del Sol helping himself to cultural treasures of the western world, sun, champagne and beautiful women
The next day I think about deer
who have long had a great, but somewhat
unheeded talent for being a deer. And the wolf
that is trying to get some acting among the sheep in Østerdalen
without it making him more protected as a species
And the cat practising catch with mice ad infinitum
without being disrupted. Either because we think the mouse is too small, or because the cat has such elegant paw-work
The other nature
Today I’ve been reading Ole Thyssen’s essay about
The other nature
And how man bent over himself
tries to define his own being as
the speaking animal with ”that little extra”
- Ole Thyssen (1944), Ph.D 1976
On a level with the forest that defines itself
as a forest within the forest, one should perhaps say
On a level with criteria in art that
need not necessarily be criteria for art alone
one could also say
The blind spot in one’s self esteem. The chicken on the chalk line
A restless flock of birds in the cherry tree. What
are they thinking about in this cold? They’re not thinking
you say, they just fly and fly right until they
drop to the ground