Ljubomir's Reviews > Five Swedish Poets: Kjell Espmark, Lennart Sjögren, Eva Ström, Staffan Söderblom, Werner Aspenström (Series B

Five Swedish Poets by Robin Fulton
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Apr 19, 11

bookshelves: poetry, scandinavian
Read from April 01 to 16, 2011

An intriguing book for anyone interested in modern (Swedish) poetry. ('Modern' meaning from the second half of the 20th century, but have in mind, that the youngest of the authors included here, Eva Ström and Staffan Söderblom, are both 64 years old.)

Of the five authors selected in this collection, I was familiar only with Kjell Espmark, and I liked his poems, even though they were a bit too ambiguous and cryptic for my taste, but that is nothing unusual in modern poetry.
A common theme in many of Espmark's poems is history. Another one is the thin line between reality and fiction. These two worlds feed each other. They exist in parallel and when we cross from one to the other we get new points of view on old subjects, the familiar becomes new.

Lennart Sjögren's poems are like fragments, not stories. He writes about animals, nature and alienation. The animals in his poems are not friendly, their images are cold and prophetic. There is a clash between the world of men and nature, but unlike Espmark's poems, here the connection between the two worlds is ominous.
I didn't particularly like most of Sjögren's poems, but I did find a few favourites among them.

In many of Eva Ström's poems the reader can find frustration with violence, existence and religion. I didn't like her style, however, and I can say she is definitely not my cup of tea.

Staffan Söderblom seemed as a breath of fresh air, compared with what I had read so far. He is, out of the five, the author whose poems describe the most poetic images. He also writes about nature, but not as a world separated from ours, rather as the only world. His poems are not anxious like many of the rest in this collection, but wild and melancholic. But I cannot say there is a poem of his which I particularly like and he certainly did not impress me much.

Werner Aspenström is certainly my favourite out of the poets presented here. The excerpts of his works featured here include both poetry and prose text. Generally said, he writes about the mysteries of life and the universe, which cannot be explained. The world does not seem real and the protagonist tries to grab on to something which would give him a sense of reality, usually memories and various details from the material world.


Overall this is a good representation of modern Swedish poetry. The absence of Tomas Tranströmer seems strange, but Robin Fulton explains that with the fact that he has already published a separate collection with poems by Tranströmer alone.

Aside from Aspenström and single poems by some of the other authors, I was not impressed, but I enjoyed the book. And if you are more of an admirer of modern poetry than I am you are likely to enjoy it even more.
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