TSUNAMI FROM SOLARIS: ESSAYS ON POETRY BY AASE BERG, TRANSLATED BY JOHANNES GÖRANSSON AND JOYELLE MCSWEENEY
Swedish poet and critic Aase Berg’s new collection, Tsunami from Solaris: Essays on Poetry, beckons readers into a mountainous range of essays covering poetry and the human experience. Edited and translated by Johannes Göransson and Joyelle McSweeney, each essay swells with an introspective metamorphosis. The collection features an expansive scope of enlightening ruminations, including musings of wounds and scars; pregnancy and motherhood (“that cute, paradisiacal madness”); subversion of the patriarchy and capitalism; playfulness; joy and suffering; adulthood; the awe-inspiring madness of children; and the nature of language and a poem’s landscape, all which offer readers new lenses and modes of thinking—to employ for the creation of poetry—to experience the world as a human being.
Berg advocates for wonder and protests patriarchal seriousness. Provocative questions undulate throughout the collection: “is language a game?”; “should one in certain moments avoid writing about or depicting angst about mortality?”; and “why is the poem such an insult to the cruelty of life itself?” She leans toward a trickster poetics: “the poem is formless, a protoplasm, a jellyfish, an amoeba that glides around and ignores the human race’s grave chronologies.” As poetry is a playground and “language is a living being,” each essay is full of breath and enrapturing choreographies of meaning. Berg writes that “the playground is the garbage heap of the patriarchy,” and Tsunami for Solaris is a call to action for all writers to “steal back the yellow, happy, pathetic joy,” to play and play madly without boundaries or fear.
—Review by Samuel Binns