The Elephants Have Been Singing All Along

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The Elephants Have Been Singing All Along. (2017)
by Ren Powell. Wigestrand forlag (Press). Norway


Powell has set a difficult goal: to translate the processes that happen with us and within us: the wordless, bodily sentences we know well–in one way. In another way, they are unconscious experiences, and if conscious, certainly not put into words. Powell writes about what provides our small cells with energy, and about the sections of chromosomes that are important in the cessation of cell division, while she also succeeds in viewing the body as an entire landscape.

[…] She writes beautifully, sensually, and intellectually on this subject, and she exploits many references and allusions, as when she turns the Zen koan. In this way, the poetry is often also meta poetry. She writes about the forming of meanings and narratives as an overriding principle. […] She delves into what communicates with us and within us, and comes to the conclusion that the spaces between are also significant. As well as “the spaces between the spaces between”. Unknown worlds open themselves to us in her poems. And as [Eirik] Lodèn points out in his masterfully written afterward, these poems are both sophisticated and spontaneous, both demanding and obvious. […] Powell comes closer to the poetry’s roots and source here, and her writing is intense.  […] This is a rich, beautiful, and challenging work, that succeeds in its impossible goal, and that encompasses both human cells and cathedrals.

– Helge Torvund. Stavanger Aftenblad. May, 2017.


Read an excerpt.

Available in a bilingual edition (translations by Eirik Lodén), in hardback: Wigestrand. As an electronic book: ebok.no.