Jan Jakob Tønseth has written a collection of cheerful death poems. After it was confirmed that he had breast cancer, his thoughts naturally turned to illness, time and death. It is with great authority and consciousness of form that he moves in a literary landscape where he quotes and engages in dialogues with other poets who have written about death: Wergeland, Baudelaire, Ekelöf and Nerval.
There is a selection of sonnets from his stay in hospital and the convalescence period. He locates his scar in a historic context, writing about flowers and his sister, Kari. There are echoes of the Spanish poet Francisco de Quevedo (1500s) and of Baudelaire and Nerval. There are laments and biblical poems, and not least beautiful poems about Fagervann in Maridalen, where the sick go to find courage and strength. “Get up, young man/ and go to Fagervann.”
This is a beautiful, gripping collection that makes the reader smile, chuckle and reflect on life and death. It is illustrated with old prints and drawings.
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