Synopses & Reviews
Winner of the 2006 Nordic Councils Literature Prize, Swedish writer Göran Sonnevi is undoubtedly one of the most important poets working today. In Mozarts Third Brain, his thirteenth book of verse, he attempts “a commentary on everything” - politics, current events, mathematics, love, ethics, music, philosophy, nature. Through the impeccable skill of award-winning translator Rika Lesser, Sonnevis long-form poem comes to life in English with the full force of its loose, fractured, and radiating intensity.
A poetic tour de force that darts about dynamically and imaginatively, Mozarts Third Brain weaves an elaborate web of associations as the poet tries to integrate his private consciousness with the world around him. Through Lessers translation and preface, and an enlightening foreword by Rosanna Warren, readers of English will finally gain access to this masterpiece.
"This ambitious, sprawling book-length poem from one of Sweden's leading lights aspires to consider almost everything: music in composition and performance, friends' illness and death, cosmology, sex, and metaphysics: 'Within myself I hear the dichotomies, recurrent/ on many levels, ontologically, epistemologically Also/ emotionally.' Such abstract musings cut against Sonnevi's striking lyric interludes, as when he evokes 'The whirlwind of ash at my feet, invisible/ Where shall I set them down.' Composed between 1992 and 1996, its 164 sections also react to European politics, including Sweden's vote on whether to enter the E.U. and the conflict and slaughter in Bosnia. Political economy makes an appearance, too ('The sea of finance capital, of over 7 trillion dollars,/ moving freely over the surface of the globe'). He wants, also, to see how social and artistic life and the sciences can merge and interact in his own mind, where 'There's no end to analyses We stand at the beginning of everything.' Sonnevi's sentences sound admirably idiomatic in Lesser's rendering. Yet even Swedish readers (as Lesser notes) remain both fascinated and baffled by Sonnevi's informality and by his reach: for every American drawn to these long meditations, another may regard them as merely journals, a thoughtful poet's lengthy notes for an unwritten poem." Publishers Weekly (Copyright Reed Business Information, Inc.)
About the Author
Born in 1939 in Lund, Sweden, Göran Sonnevi is the author of fifteen books of poems and a volume of poetry in translation.
Rika Lesser is the author of four books of poems and six books of poetry in translation. She teaches poetry and literary translation and lives in Brooklyn, New York.