by Johannes Goransson on Dec.20, 2012
“Extraordinary and urgent, a coded warning smuggled out of dark.”
“Aase Berg’s poetry is discomforting because it lacks boundaries . . . When I read her I notice how my consciousness tries to separate, divide up and make sense of her almost hallucinatory images, but they always glide back together. I get nauseous and almost seasick from her texts.”
—Åsa Beckman, author of I Myself A House of Light – Postmodern Swedish Women Poets
“Berg’s hallucinatory, post-cataclysmic epic takes place in an unremitting future-past. The bodies mutate and hybridize. They are erotic and artificial, art and adrenaline. Available for the first time in English as a complete collection, the poems of this contemporary Swedish classic contaminate as they become contaminated—drawing on and altering source texts that range from The Texas Chainsaw Massacre to string theory. Calling on fables, science, the pastoral, and the body, Dark Matter aggravates their perception while exhausting poetry down to its nerve: “a faint spasm of cheers before this, the nervous system’s last chance to communicate with the dying I.” The result: a monstrous zone of linguistic and bodily interpenetration, cell death, and radiant permutations.”
from “Red Giant”:
The hermaphrodite is collapsing into a red giant. it gathers, andromeda is pulled into a convulsion up in the sky. and purple acorn bolts and pulsars throb wildly against the zachris Nebula’s strict core.
I hold the stems tight, hummingbirdish. the racket from the harbor entrance reached us long before our arrival. Out of the moist mist the city’s flicker-globes appeared along a ribbon of light. Cicadas chafed bolts against each other.
We stood on deck in silent clusters. A twilight fell slowly and the fever surged in a wave through my pseudo-dead body. Out of my throat rose a sap that tasted of yeast and bitter almond. He bent into the kiss and sucked up the fat liquid with his sticky feeler. A moon-flecked chrysalis anemone dropped from his already extremely corroded Dead Man’s Hand. Tentacles, very long, hanging: where heavy breast-blue lilies drooped over the lacunae.
I could feel the widening and pumping from the vacuum chambers deep inside my brain. For several days alexander had worked with his herbarium, dissecting it down to a microcosm of as-of-yet unexplored categories, the level of detail where flesh becomes plant becomes stone.