When his collection Grundstof, from which most of the poems in We Are Here hail, was published in 2004, it was welcomed in one of Denmark's most widely read newspapers Ekstra Bladet with these words: "Niels Hav is an economical writer. He only inconveniences the public when he has something important on his mind. Hav's aim is to give weight to every word and to cut to the bone. It's been ten years since his last book, but when he finally does publish what's on the page actually says something. Grundstof's words are saturated with experience and wisdom."The English translations of his poems in We Are Here are no different: they address what Hav considers to be elemental about life, that undeniable essence without which everything makes little sense. His voice is direct and humorous, intelligent, lyrical and philosophical: a voice that takes into account the difficulties of staying close to the elemental. Hav is devoid of sly obfuscation; he is a poet unafraid of being clear. What could be more direct or elemental than the fact that We Are Here?
About the authors
Niels Hav is a poet and short story writer living in Copenhagen. He has published five books of poetry and three collections of short fiction. An earlier English edition of Hav`s work titled God`s Blue Morris was published in Canada in 1992, and the team of Friesen and Brask were also the translators for this collection. Hav`s work has appeared in other languages as well, including English, Spanish, Italian, Turkish, and Portuguese; a collection also appeared in Macedonian published by Spektar Press. Next year a collection will appear in Istanbul, Turkey. Hav has been the recipient of a number of prestigious awards. He has traveled widely in Europe, Asia, North and South America. He is married with four children.
Patrick Friesen is the author of Blasphemer's Wheel, winner of the Manitoba Book of the Year Award and runner-up for the Milton Acorn People's Poetry Award. A Broken Bowl was short-listed for the Governor General's Award. His most recent work st. mary at main was shortlisted for the Dorothy Livesay Poetry Prize. He has also written for stage, radio, TV and film. He lives in Vancouver where he teaches writing.
Patrick Friesen's newest collection Carrying the Shadow is a haunting ode to the lives we have felt too briefly, known only in passing and yearn to hold still. While those who loved them keen softly between his lines, Friesen invokes their loss as one remembers a cool breath on the back of the neck, a faint shadow on a headstone, a watermark on the bedstand. With wisdom and beauty and invention, Friesen walks us through the graveyard of human kind where a symphony of voices still conduct the lives left behind long after they depart flesh for spirit. Intermingling prose poems and traditional free verse, Friesen both narrates and sings the stories of absence and forgetting, tales of lingering memory and fleeting love. With infinite candor and sensitivity, Friesen celebrates the lives of idols and iconoclasts, wives and widows, farmers and freeloaders. For anyone who has urged another title in the canon of Friesen's award-winning work, here is a collection worthy of accolade. Death has no dominion, but poetry has dominion over all.