poetry in action #15 | Kári Tulinius translated by Larissa Kyzer

poetry in action features work by poets from around the world, translated into English.

It has three rallying cries:

Poets of the world, unite and take over!

Resist the oppressive constraints of good, publishable poetry established by mainstream literary venues!

Only poetry in translation, all the time!

Coming at you every 10th and 20th of each month.






1992 Edge Milky Way






1992 jaðar Vetrarbrautin










Ars Politica, or what my female friends taught me about zombies

(in memoriam Annie Dennisdóttir Wright)


What B taught me:
OOOOOIt is possible to become a zombie out of the blue (without noticing) just cease living one day (without dying) stop responding to stimulus all while continuing to look for people and to people (without forging bonds) because there is still energy and the need to receive energy (without putting this into words) ergo the need to know how to ask and to answer remains (without which there are no words)

What V taught me:
OOOOOSo although zombies do not exist it is reasonable to fear the apocalypse (a bad time for those who suffer from prophetic dreams) which is why it is always advisable to check for bodies hidden in basements and attics because it is by no means a certainty that there will be any advance warning for the end of the world (a bad time to be sleeping within reach of a zombie) which is why it is better not to go to bed until sure that everything is safe and sound even for the pharaohs and queens of the rough sleepers because a home is just an idea and a home can vanish in an instant (a bad time to be sleeping outdoors) even the homes of people perched on top of the social pyramid (a bad place to be when the sky comes tumbling down)

What A taught me:
OOOOOThose who have gotten the most from society (remember where you were born) are also those who think that society holds them back and keeps them from finding meaning in their lives (remember that meaning is created not supplied) which is why they dream about societal collapse and only one thing is forbidden to those perched atop the social pyramid (remember where you are) namely to kill another person but when everyone is a zombie anyone is fair game (remember who is the monster)

What H taught me:
OOOOOFriendship with a zombie is the most challenging work to undertake because a single life must suffice for two (feelings become the labor of the one who is not a zombie) and a zombie will haunt the person who befriends it because zombies have nothing left to do but think (feelings are the only things that belong entirely and undividedly to the earth) sometimes many thoughts but sometimes just the one (feelings are difficult in their multiplicity) and when a mind is simple and attention undivided all problems boil down to just one (feelings collapse into a sun that the zombie rolls ahead of itself)










A Novel Ending with the Distant Barking of Dogs


You linger in archives
why would anyone remember you
if the pencil scribbles are erased
signatures as proof of existance
to die is to vanish from the archives
a vibrating eardrum the final trace








Kári Tulinius is an Icelandic poet and novelist. He and his family move back and forth between Reykjavík and Helsinki. If you search for his name online you will find fiction and poems in translation, and even author photos and book covers, if you like that sort of thing. Twitter: @Kattullus

Larissa Kyzer is a writer and Icelandic literary translator. Her translation of Kristín Eiríksdóttir’s A Fist or a Heart (AmazonCrossing) was awarded the American Scandinavian Foundation’s 2019 translation prize. The same year, she was one of Princeton University’s Translators in Residence. In 2020, Larissa cofounded Eth & Thorn, a chapbook press dedicated to Icelandic poetry and short fiction in translation. She is a member of Ós, an Iceland-based international literary collective, as well as the American Literary Translators Association. Larissa is co-chair of PEN America’s Translation Committee and runs the virtual Women+ in Translation reading series Jill! She currently lives in Brooklyn, NY. https://www.larissakyzer.com/

Instagram: @larissa.kyzer


poetry in action is an Action Books blog feature curated and edited by Katherine M. Hedeen (@kmhedeenwith web editing by Paul Cunningham.

December 21st, 2020|
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