Dag T. Straumsvåg trans. by Robert Hedin
A stranger gets off the train at the Trondheim station and walks into town. As he crosses the railroad bridge it begins to rain and he slips into a convenience store. Two walls are covered with paperbacks in English. Tom Clancy, J. K. Rowling, Dan Brown, George R. R. Martin, Fifty Shades of Grey, plus half a shelf of books by Charles Bukowski. Later, he enters another store, this one with a larger selection, and it also has half a shelf by Bukowski. For the next three months he visits every convenience store and bookstore in the city, and it’s always the same. Half a shelf of Bukowski. Post Office, Ham on Rye, Come On In!, The Pleasures of the Damned, Factotum, Pulp, Women, Run With the Hunted, The Days Run Away Like Wild Horses Over the Hills. Except for a convenience store at the edge of town, which only has one copy of Post Office. He can’t figure it out. No one he asks has read Charles Bukowski, has any interest in reading Charles Bukowski, has ever bought a book by Bukowski. It boggles his mind. He can’t sleep at night. He begins talking to himself. “He danced like a mystic.” “I want to learn a new sickness.” “The room was dark, it looked like someone had to get out fast.” “There are pyramids buried under the streets of this town.”
Dag T. Straumsvåg's "The Opera House in Trondheim" and "Charles Bukowski" can be read in the print edition of The Arkansas International 3.
Dag T. Straumsvåg was born in 1964 in Kristiansund, a city on the sparsely populated coastline of western Norway, and raised in the nearby village of Tingvoll. The author of three books of poetry, most recently A Bumpy Ride to the Slaughterhouse and The Lure-Maker from Posio, both published by Red Dragonfly Press, he is a respected translator of contemporary American poetry and currently lives in Trondheim.
Robert Hedin is the author, translator, and editor of two dozen books of poetry and prose, most recently At the Great Door of Morning: Selected Poems and Translations (Copper Canyon Press, 2017). He is co-founder and former director of the Anderson Center at Tower View, a residential artist retreat in Red Wing, Minnesota, where he currently lives.