You Go the Words
by Gunnar Björling

Translated by Fredrik Hertzberg.

Poetry. LGBTQ Studies. Translation. Scandinavian Studies.
ISBN: 9780976569251
1 April 2007

“This collection contains the exuberance of living and the many let-downs of failure, the slow sadness that comes from nowhere and settles into our bones, the longing for love and success, and an appreciation for the littlest of joys.”

– Steven Karl, Sink Review

“Strange tensions and fields of energy exist between words. In the work of the Finland-Swedish modernist poet Gunnar Björling, with its separation of the barriers between them and its re-creation of grammar, the magnetism of words, their attraction and yearning for one another, becomes visible.”

– Trygve Söderling translated by David McDuff, Books from Finland

“To read Bjorling is to eat language”

–Aase Berg

“…Hovering in an aesthetic space somewhere between Dickinson and Celan, Oppen and Creeley, Gunnar Bjorling is a poet of the everyday and its words, as if the abyss between souls could ever be ordinary or ever anything else”

–Charles Bernstein

Du Går de Ord, the last collection of poems by the great Finland-Swedish Modernist poet Gunnar Björling, here superbly translated and introduced by Fredrik Hertzberg, is a milestone in the annals of experimental poetics produced in our century. Björling’s lyric is one of extreme reduction and syntactic dislocation: “Cut out, cut / you, your word/ cut our your / contour, that you cannot /explain,” wrote this poet in 1938, insisting that every word, indeed every morpheme and letter count in a densely Heideggerian poetry of being. Like his American counterparts George Oppen and Robert Creeley, Björling prefers the “small words” – if, and, as, that, like you, the, it–; like theirs, his “minimalism” is conceptually and erotically charged. Reading You go the words is a great pleasure.”

– Marjorie Perloff


Gunnar Björling (1887-1960) was a poet and prominent figure in the Finnish-Swedish Modernist literary movement. He wrote nearly 20 books of poetry in his lifetime, his final book being Du Går de Ord or You Go the Words.


Fredrik Hertzberg is a literary scholar and critic living in Finland. He has two doctoral degrees, one from the Poetics program of SUNY-Buffalo (2000) and one from Åbo Akademi University, Finland (2003). His dissertation was published as Moving Materialities – On Poetic Materiality and Translation, with Special Reference to Gunnar Björling’s Poetry.