Ursula Andkjær Olsen
Translated by Katrine Øgaard Jensen
ISBN 978-0-900575-10-5 | $20 | March 1, 2021
i have closed myself around itself
in a closed circuit
which i will send off as the outgoing
vessel that it is
after which the new human can arrive in its
“this is a shape I cannot remain in” With its mutant orbs of grief and technoscientific phenomena, Ursula Andkjær Olsen’s Outgoing Vessel is the electrifying sequel to Katrine Øgaard Jensen’s award-winning translation of Third-Millennium Heart. The book-length mirror poem titled Udgående Fartøj (Outgoing Vessel) received the Danish Critics Prize for Literature in 2015. Now, for the first time in English, a radically new and resilient voice emerges — an Outgoing Vessel — from an all-consuming darkness: “INSIDE ME THERE IS A NONDEGRADABLE ORB / MY OWN PLANET”
REVIEWS OF OUTGOING VESSEL
It’s beautiful and desirable; it’s nonporous (i.e., it can no longer be entered and no longer extrudes material) and inscrutable in its smoothness; it’s distinct from humanity and humanity’s feelings and attachments. And, most importantly, once it’s been cleaved from the self, the orb can be put on a vessel and sent away. In the universe of the main narrative of Outgoing Vessel, humanity is unrelatable; comfort is unrelatable; healing and journeys are unrelatable; the only aspirational thing is hardness as a new efficiency
Olsen’s narration shifts from technical incisiveness to slangy humor, orbiting centers of intense hurt.
Through the course of Outgoing Vessel we witness the speaker’s emergence as a voice of concern, intent on invalidating loneliness—through her outgoing/incoming vessel she comes to a radicalizing understanding of empathy and experience.
PRAISE FOR URSULA ANDKJÆR OLSEN
Danish poet Ursula Andkjær Olsen’s compelling work travels through dark chambers of desire, power, and creation, conjuring up a feminist space where culture and nature wage war with one another, where psychology and anatomy merge to create a uniquely modern mytho-poetics. Katrine Øgaard Jensen’s masterful translation has a strong rhythm all its own, and captures the book’s jarring quality in a remarkably smooth rendering. By the end of this insidious text, the reader is just as “namedrunk” as the book’s enigmatic lyrical subject, and discovers that their own “heartspace,” too, has been torn open, dissected, and beautifully recreated.
—2018 National Translation Award judges’ statement by Sawako Nakayasu, Kareem James Abu-Zeid, and Jennifer Feeley.
Like a supercollider smashing together exotic subatomic particles just to see what happens, Olsen accelerates language to the very limits, detonating it to watch what knowledge comes forth from ecstasy.
From a distance established through sparse text and guttural truth, Olsen, through Jensen’s imaginative feats of translation, confronts us with an unsparing, lucid world view.
Olsen reminds us through her language that what we think of as natural may, in fact, be the technical; the science of ourselves is renewed in these poems.
—Words Without Borders
This intoxicating and terrifying poem (or many poems) is a meditation humming with repeated mantras of feminist poetics, words inside of words inside of pages inside of the book held inside your hands.
All the truly excellent books on my shelves are excellent precisely because they have nothing to do with me. They owe me nothing. But I owe them everything. And it’s my obligation to read them, learn from them, treat them as the miraculous, overpowering creatures they are. This is the realm of excellence in which Katrine Øgaard Jensen’s translation of Danish poet Ursula Andkjær Olsen’s Third-Millennium Heart exists. I would love for everyone to read this book—I am advocating for its circulation. At the same time, the book doesn’t need us to read it in order for it to be alive. We need to be alive to it.
—2018 Best Translated Book Award judge Aditi Machado
ABOUT THE AUTHOR
Ursula Andkjær Olsen (b. 1970) made her literary debut in 2000 and has since published nine collections of poetry and one novel, in addition to several dramatic texts and libretti for operas such as Danish composer Pelle Gudmundsen-Holmgreen’s Sol går op, sol går ned, and composer Peter Bruun’s Miki Alone, which was awarded the Nordic Council Music Prize in 2008. Olsen has received numerous awards for her work, including the Danish Arts Foundation’s Award of Distinction in 2017, the 2012 Montanaprisen award for Det 3. årtusindes hjerte (Third-Millennium Heart, Broken Dimanche Press/Action Books 2017), and the 2015 Danish Critics Prize for Literature for Udgående fartøj (Outgoing Vessel, Action Books 2021). Since 2019, Olsen has served as head of The Danish Academy of Creative Writing. Her latest poetry collection, Mit Smykkeskrin (My Jewel Box), was published by Gyldendal in January 2020.
ABOUT THE TRANSLATOR
Katrine Øgaard Jensen (b. 1988) is a poet and translator from the Danish. She is a recipient of several fellowships and awards, including the 2018 National Translation Award in Poetry for her translation of Ursula Andkjær Olsen’s book-length poem, Third-Millennium Heart (Broken Dimanche Press/Action Books 2017). She teaches creative writing and literary translation at Columbia University, where she served as Acting Director of LTAC (Literary Translation at Columbia) from 2019-2020.