“Shouldn’t we own the stars, we who govern the order of all things, shouldn’t we each own a star?” Cecil Bødker’s answer—and ours—can be found in this impressive collection, where Michael Goldman’s exceptional translations bring us her sparse, poetic portrayals of natural phenomena mirrored in the multifaceted conflicts of the human mind: “Everything in my beautiful garden I own but none of it is mine.” Her poems convey essential reflections on the source of the alienation of modern humanity: “Since we live in surfeit we forget what life is.” Bødker’s universal and persistently relevant poetry is finally available to a large audience.
Nete Schmidt, Ph.D Dept of Scandinavian Studies, University of Wisconsin
Whether it’s a butterfly “kicking off its cocoon,” larks singing “across flat farm country,” a dawn that “kneels in the grass / quenching its thirst / in the damp footprints of night,” or the poet’s own “urge to be a squirrel,” the poems in Cecil Bødker’s Inheritance are grounded in the physical world and transformed by her alert and always surprising imagination. Michael Goldman’s faithful translations bring us nearly four decades of this Danish poet’s work—equalling both its subtle music and astonishing clarity.
Winner of the American-Scandinavian Foundation Translation Prize
Cecil Bødker (b. 1927) is one of contemporary Denmark’s most highly awarded and prolific female authors. She has written 59 books including poetry, novels for children and adults, short stories and plays. Her Stories about Tacit, a collection of 11 connected short stories, was published in 1971, forming the first book of The Water Farm Trilogy. Best known for her young-adult fiction books, in 1976 she received the international Hans Christian Andersen Medal for Writing for her lasting contribution to children’s literature. In 1998 she was awarded the Grand Prize of the Danish Academy for her body of work as a writer.
Michael Favala Goldman (b.1966), besides being a widely-published translator of Danish literature, is a poet, jazz clarinetist, gardener, father and husband. Over 100 of Goldman’s translations have appeared in dozens of literary journals such as The Harvard Review and The Columbia Journal. He teaches workshops and gives readings at universities and literary events. His recent translated books include works by Knud Sørensen, Cecil Bødker, Knud Sønderby, Marianne Koluda Hansen and Benny Andersen. www.hammerandhorn.net