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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alphabet by Inger Christensen
Refresh and try again. Open Preview See a Problem? Thanks for telling us about the problem. Return to Book Page. Preview — alphabet by Inger Christensen. Born inInger Christensen is Denmark’s best known poet. Her award-winning alphabet is based structurally on Fibonacci’s sequence a mathematical sequence in which each number is th Awarded the American-Scandinavian PEN Translation Prize by Michael Hamburger, Susanna Nied’s translation of alphabet introduces Inger Christensen’s poetry to US readers for the first time.
Her award-winning alphabet is based structurally on Fibonacci’s sequence a mathematical sequence in which each number is the sum of the two previous numbersin combination with the alphabet.
alphabet | Bloodaxe Books
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 alphabetChristensen creates a framework of psalm-like forms that unfold like expanding universes, while crystallizing both the beauty and the potential for destruction that permeate our times.
Paperback79 pages. Published May 17th by New Directions first published To see what your friends thought of this book, please sign up. To ask other readers questions about alphabetplease sign up.
Lists with This Book. At first I though this to be a book of bullshit. Then, I managed to decipher and come to like a bit of this abecedeariousness. Still, no matter what the lazy say, usage of capital letters is never overrated. Also, not everything managed to congeal into a semblance of sense, for me. Still, so far this gets 3 stars: May 10, Jenna rated it it was amazing Shelves: People often use the term “world-building” when discussing fantasy novelists, e.
Tolkien or Ursula K. Alphabetthough a work of verse rather than prose, is a tremendous achievement in world-building. 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??
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 scratch, a fecund world that overflows with beauty and biodiversity, but which, mirroring the real world we live in, is menaced by humankind’s inexorable drive toward self-annihilation. As its title suggests, this book is loosely structured around the alphabet: Why does Christensen stop on the letter N, rather than proceeding all the way to Z?
Perhaps because “N” is the first letter of “nuclear holocaust,” the feared event that threatens to cut Christensen’s poetic outflow short, just as it threatens to cut short the existence of human civilization as we know it.
The structure of the book also owes much to the Fibonacci sequence. Like the numbers in that sequence, each section of Alphabet is precisely as chrisyensen — and as conceptually ingwr — as the two preceding sections combined.
There is a super-additiveness, or synergy, at work here that is really quite marvelous: The book’s first section is only one line long: Lest this seem too doomy and gloomy for you, there is also a thread of hope running through Alphabeta thread that runs in parallel with the above-described fiber of chirstensen, an arpeggio whose individual note components are imagination, inspiration, and poetic creativity or, as Christensen terms it, “the rain of alphabets”. Christensen argues that we, the citizens of the world, must work our hardest to ensure that this faint green thread survives, to ensure that our children collectively inherit a world that is not beyond salvation.
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Jan 17, metaphor rated it really liked it Shelves: Har man bare lidt kendskab til dansk litteratur i det D Har man bare lidt kendskab til dansk litteratur i det Genial og formfuldendt digtsamling. Hurra for at Inger Christensen fandtes. El primero es la secuencia de Fibonacci. Es decir, cada verso es la suma de los dos precedentes: Cada poema, y las palabras que utiliza, sigue el orden de las letras: Sin embargo, bajo esta forma aparentemente estricta, hay lugar para el azar.
Un comienzo inmejorable el que nos ofrece la editorial que tantas buenas noticias nos da. Jun 02, Sara rated it it was amazing Shelves: I read this in brief segments over the course of a few months. The genius of this work can be found not only in the mathematically inter composition, but in Nied’s brilliant translation. Christensen used the Fibonacci sequence to inspire the structure of the poems, but there is a poignant richness brought by the words themselves to the themes of environment, nature, progress, humanity in the midst of metaphysical simplicity.
I think this is the most I’ve ever enjoyed a book of poetry. Sep 07, Cecilie Flinck rated it it was amazing. christenaen
De smukkeste smukkeste digte. Feb 28, Marie rated it it was amazing Shelves: I let loose a gentle, marveling “Oh, shit” as I started this book. As in, “Is she really going to? The febrile fugue of natural history that alights on each letter of the first half of the alphabet until “n”–infinity is so clearly a spiral. Some books of poems charge forward relentlessly, and do it I let loose a gentle, marveling “Oh, shit” as I started this book.
Some books alpjabet 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. This is one of the few books I would like to hear read aloud in its entirety, in both its gorgeous translation and its original alliterative Danish.
Apr 27, Alessandra rated it it was amazing. Life is a process; a continuous series of cycles to which Christensen pays homage in this haunting Fibonaccian progression. The poem starts out simply enough: As ingre moves forward in the alphabetical sequence. The growth of the Fibonacci sequence christenxen ultimately explosive as the poems seem to become unchained as the work moves forward.
Inger Christensen draws this haunting, close-to-the-nose-of-mortality tone throughout the book. 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. There is a constant echoing, but not clumsy or overbearing; just enough to convincingly bind the fragmented sections of the poem.
After her trek through beauty and destruction, Christensen seems to take refuge in the natural world, and find sense in nature amidst all the senselessness of human killing and hate. After exploring the horrors and atrocities of human conflict, Christensen decidedly moves into a life in harmony with the natural world.
Jul 02, Lou Last rated it it was amazing Shelves: View all 8 comments. May 18, Marcus Uhre rated it it was amazing Shelves: Denne hyldest til sproget passer perfekt i samlingens unger, der udfolder sig todelt; Hver sektion indrammet af Fibbonaci-tallene. Og disse sektioner tager hver et bogstav fra sproget i udforskning.
Det er smukt og genialt! Feb 06, Peter rated it it was amazing Shelves: I have to read this again to get more out of it, I probably have to keep rereading it, but alphabeh stunning: 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. But that didn’t need to be explained for the poetry to be an extravagantly eloquent consideration of the beauty of nature and the horror of us I have to read this again to get more out of it, I probably have to keep rereading it, but chriwtensen stunning: But that didn’t need to be explained for the poetry to be an extravagantly eloquent consideration of the beauty of nature and the horror of infer.
This review has been hidden because it contains spoilers. To view it, click christeneen. Mar 05, Caleb added it Shelves: Feb 25, Carolyn Hembree rated it it was amazing Shelves: Nov 13, C. Nov 23, Richelle Wilson rated it it was amazing. I read Inger Christensen’s Alfabet as part of my graduate reading list, in part as a study in form and in part because it is a great example of ecocritical poetry. I am amazed at her use of the Fibonacci sequence to structure the poem. Far from being a randomly imposed, kitschy constraint, the Fibonacci numbers draw attention to an overarching thematic element of the poem: Speaking of repetition, Chrixtensen found the recurring use of the word “exist” to be soothing, like the lapping of waves on a beach.
That combined with the alliteration that naturally yields from the poem’s second architectonic feature namely, the use of the alphabet letters A through N as primary characteristics of each christenxen the fourteen sections make for a poem that is very acoustically pleasing, especially if read aloud in its native Danish.
The English translation surprisingly maintained a lot of cjristensen alliteration and, even when it didn’t, the translator’s choice of words still felt purposeful, weighty, and poetically luscious. 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.
Several times, she ingrr that silence might be the truest expression.
On that note, perhaps it’s best to finally let the poetry speak for itself through some of my favorite passages.