Towards an Irreducible Node: On Eva Kristina Olsson’s The Angelgreen Sacrament (trans. by Johannes Göransson) by MIke Corrao

We are looking on at a column. Resembling a serpent or a spine. It is not unstable, but flexible. Moving between limp and rigid formations.

First framed as an Angelgreen Sacrament (written by Eva Kristina Olsson and translated by Johannes Göransson), documenting various encounters had with angelic entities.

But moving beyond this synoptic understanding, we can see a certain amount of structural oddness.

It is continuous, spanning a multitude of surfaces.

The language that makes up the contents of the column is repetitive—working from a set of foundational terms. Angel, wing, green, cranium, etc. Placing these terms in shifting contexts. Always working towards some narrative or aesthetic conclusion. Although it is unclear what that is.

Often, what we are observing is abstract. Its contents visualized within the space of the stanza. Repurposing the highly structural nature of the column as an image. Likened to the way perspective might be used to orient the viewer of a painting or a film.

In the allthetime collapsing hair

An aesthetics of language sets the poem in the vacuum of space, utilizing real and identifiable signifiers, but in a way that promotes their severing from the signified.

We observe objects interacting in the void. Assembled inside of your head as if in a dream or a landfill.

The column’s function is still structural—unavoidably so—but this is not its only use.

Sequences like…

the no-one-light

light     so         the light            is the light-no-one

light in no one

no one in light

carry light

be light

no one

… operate with a clear vertical momentum. One which feels as if it could be traced both upwards and downwards. The channeling of the spine or the serpent here revealing itself as multi-directional.

An ascent and descent occurring simultaneously.

The interior of this motion being interwoven / tangled. The word ‘light’ (as seen above) has become unanchored and irreplaceable. Its usage and context are constantly under the stress of metamorphosis.

Within each line is the transformation of what we might think of as a nodal term.

It is the irreducible center of the sequence—what cannot be replaced or performed without. The absence of ‘light’ is the articulation of a new sequence (and the foreshadowing of an inevitable return).

Viewing the column as a housing for these nodes, we can begin to see a certain foundation to the structure’s organization.

Frequently the interaction between node and housing is one of identification. The node surfaces, the column contains it, iterates upon all potential contexts, then integrates it into the closed lexicon of the Angelgreen Sacrament.

Other sequences like…

You are afraid

don’t be afraid

you are afraid

I am afraid

… display more directly this exploratory methodology. Since the node cannot be reduced, its various applications may be tested and archived.

To an extent, this might frame the poem as highly technical or programmatic, but on the contrary, Olsson’s writing (and Göransson’s translation of it) operate in a predominantly organic fashion.

With much of the actual vocabulary and its usage resembling Joyelle McSweeney’s concept of the necropastoral—this arcadian and hadean realization of ecopoetics.

In discussing his work on the text, Göransson has said that the act of translation can ‘sabotage the illusion of self-sufficiency’ which feels so integral to understanding the esoteric movement of Olsson’s work.

Often it feels as if we are witnessing a kind of self-digestion.

With me greening out of your mouth

And the setting of this glistening throat

The poem is recycling itself into new materials. Potentially, we might view the behavior of these nodal terms as stones in your belly. That which cannot be digested, and which rolls around its organic, dissolving counterparts.

Part of this is visible in the comingling of terms. Lines feature compounds like “allthetime”, “pistachiogreen”, or “midsummersolstice”.

The title of “angelgreen” itself alludes to this partial digestion as well. With materials muddling and reconstituting. In this reconstitution creating a new image. Which can inevitably be attached to a node to have its interaction observed.

Compared to the original Swedish, I do not know how much of Olsson’s work has changed. In past discussions of his work as a translator (specifically of Aase Berg’s work), Göransson has noted a difficulty with the base language’s habit of compounding terms in ways that do not occur in English.

In this, we might see the potential for a greater flexibility of the nodal term, as we have begun to see here.

Returning to the compound of ‘angelgreen’ we notice the nodes of ‘angel’ and ‘green’ sutured together. Not only placing them within the context of their various uses and appearances throughout the work but extending this potential as a constructive methodology.

The nodal term is a building material. It is a repetitive block of the greater structure. Appearing as pattern and/or foundation in the same way that concrete might be used in the design of a new building.

In their suturing to one another ‘angel’ and ‘green’ are expanded into a new material one degree away from the base node, operating with only one point of reducibility (their severing from one another).

But at the same time, they are now functioning in a new set of potential contexts distinct from their parentage.

The titular sacrament is not angel or green, but angelgreen—a compounding which avoids the direct interpretations of its components, now conjuring images of a new or overgrown divination.

Building from the node, we can imagine a poetics of modularity. Compounding and severing terms—sublimating vital vocabularies into the structure of the column.

Olsson and Göransson’s work on Angelgreen Sacrament navigates this conception of the node and prods at its potential mutations / expansions / reiterations. Summoning in the column something abstracted by its time in the void.







Mike Corrao is the author of three novels, Man, Oh Man (Orson’s Publishing); Gut Text (11:11 Press) and Rituals Performed in the Absence of Ganymede (11:11 Press); one book of poetry, Two Novels (Orson’s Publishing); two plays, Smut-Maker (Inside the Castle) and Andromedusa (Forthcoming – Plays Inverse); and three chapbooks, Avian Funeral March (Self-Fuck); Material Catalogue (Alienist) and Spelunker (Schism – Neuronics). Along with earning multiple Best of the Net nominations, Mike’s work has been featured in publications such as 3:AMCollagistAlways Crashing, and Denver Quarterly. His work often explores the haptic, architectural, and organismal qualities of the text-object. He lives in Minneapolis. @ShmikeShmorrao

November 22nd, 2021|
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