the everyday, every day : poetry by Maja Elverkilde

Quite a few of us are writing a poem a day this month in honor of #NationalPoetryMonth. In fact, I’m helping fund-raise on behalf of Tupelo Press. They run the 30/30 Project, which is an all-year monthly round of writing a poem a day.

If you’re enjoying the work I produce this month for the art book, suck myself out the heart i give it back, I encourage you to donate in my name to Tupelo Press. 100% of proceeds go to their literary press, and it’s tax-deductible.

the everyday, everyday

I’d like to share the work one of my favorite contemporaries, Maja Elverkilde.

While I was in Sweden, I met Maja as a stranger, a woman, and a very gracious “landlady” before I read any of her work. Thanks to Andrea Hejlskov (another favorite!), the three of us connected and swapped spells, words

exchanged language as magic

“04 : suck myself out the heart i give it back”

i don’t mean to make the memory sound so eerie or mystical.

it’s the landscape of the forest that makes it so.
and this is what it was:

we came together,
then wandered in separate directions.

still weaving, writing, crafting:

(the many threads between us all)

📷: Maja Elverkilde

I helped with “the everyday poems” Maja wrote. We worked to reassemble what is lost in translation between Danish and English, based on her vision and my native understanding / complicated love of English.

My favorite problem was the concept of “everyday” versus “every day.”

There is a difference between “I wear these clothes every day”
& “These are my everyday clothes”

which was very fun and exciting to explain without using example sentences for comparison.

“make absolutely no
sense, no one will
sense this like
me like you like
we when we were we
briefly”

I remember once while talking, I mentioned a few phrases which could work for a small but specific Danish-to-English translation problem. “Some of these are overused,” I ended, languishing over my own perfect but stereotypical answers. “That’s okay if they’re cliché,” she replied, and at once I was struck by the strength of choosing to use familiar phrases to cultivate one’s own vision–without the vision itself becoming trite.

I fell in love with Maja’s writing style, the words reflecting images I recognized as similar to my own quiet, natural, inquisitive interiority. Maja’s poetry relies not only on imagery, but also how the poem aurally flows. The poems are playful investigations into the nature of everyday / every day things…a neat, roundabout organization tactic to lovingly command the chaos of daily living.

Since we last spoke in person, I’ve been quietly nudging Maja to consider translating/writing her poems in English. I am happy to share that she has started a Poetry Month blog, which I think many of you will enjoy. Here is my favorite poem so far, written for April 4th: *4

 

*4 by majaelverkilde

From beneath this
forceful attack of
tiny shiny sprouts
frisky green bubbly growing ever
so promising

A fresh start all
over ground around
bound
to end

What you will loose
what you will regret
what will stay
an everdistant
memory

Meet my underground sister
he whispered, or so
we thought when
actually it was
cistern

That, I give you
a memory so endearing
the two of us
all touristy lifelong
planning
having
a good time
now a part
of the eversohastily
growing pile
snake pit
swamp

One day I too
will die and all of this
shitload
happysaltybitterchewy
stuff
I went through
with you
and you
and him
him, him and
him
will make absolutely no
sense, no one will
sense this like
me like you like
we when we were we
briefly
over

This spring sensation
coming again
to an
end

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