Author: David McDuff
The latest poems by Gösta Ågren, in the collection I det stora hela (‘On the whole’, Söderströms, 2011), are a continuation of the poet’s lifelong striving to unite the realm of private and personal experience with the domain of the shared, the social and the universal.
Ågren, born in 1936 in Ostrobothnia, on the west coast of Finland, has published twenty-eight collections of poetry. I det stora hela is the latest in an apparently inexhaustible series of books that reflect upon life and death, mostly in terse, aphoristic blocks that are hewn out of the poet’s own existence.
In the background of nearly all his poems is an Ostrobothnian childhood which, in its remoteness and solidarity with his close relatives, sets him apart in the same way as the Swedish language in which he writes sets him apart within a Finnish cultural context, though perhaps not in a Finland-Swedish one – for he shares not only its linguistic heritage, but also its traditional concern with the polarity and ultimate reconciliation of the individual and the community. More…
About the author
David McDuff is a translator and writer living in Kent, England. Among his translations are works written in Swedish, Russian, Icelandic, Norwegian, Danish and Finnish. His English version of the complete poems of the Finland-Swedish classic poet Edith Södergan (died 1923) appeared in England in 1984; his selected poems by Gösta Ågren were published in 1992, under the title A Valley in the Midst of Violence.
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