Letters of Blood and Other English Works, by the late, great Swedish poet and critic Göran Printz-Påhlson is just about to hit the presses, and you can now pre-order the book at the publisher's website.
Printz-Påhlson is not as well known in the English-speaking world as one might expect, given the scope of his achievement and his distinguished career at Harvard and Cambridge. But he will, according to the English newspaper the Independent, "...go down in history as the author of some classic poems… and one of Sweden's most learned, innovative and sharp-witted literary critics.” He was a prodigy, introducing a generation of Swedish writers to European modernism in his early study The Sun in the Mirror, and was one of the founders of the Lund school of poetry, a movement based in the ancient university town of Lund in the very southern tip of Sweden. He was a scholar of enormous range, and the current volume includes a series of important lectures, "The Words of the Tribe," on the nature of poetic language (he treats linguistic primitivism, linguistic reductionism, the materiality of language, and the political elements of diction in detail). He was also a prolific translator, and managed to put the works of John Ashbery into Swedish, a task for which he had exactly the right sensibility: erudite, attuned to pop-culture, musical, and wry. You can learn more about him here, in the Guardian.
Here's the publisher's statement about the book:
This collection brings together for the first time works in English by the major Swedish modernist poet and critic Göran Printz-Påhlson. It was Printz-Påhlson who introduced poetic modernism to Scandinavia, and his essays and poems delve deeply into English, American, and continental modernist traditions.
As well as Letters of Blood, the collection includes the full text of "The Words of the Tribe", a major statement on modern poetics, in which Printz-Påhlson explores the significance of primitivism in Romanticism and Modernism, and the nature of metaphor and literary materialism. The collection also includes essays on style, irony, realism, and the relationship between historical drama and historical fiction, as well as studies of American poetry. Printz-Påhlson’s poetry in English continues to explore these themes by different, often surprisingly innovative, means.
It was an honor to meet the man a few years before his death, and a privilege edit this book of his works in English. I hope it will bring Printz-Påhlson's poetry and critical writing to an Anglo-American audience, for whom his concerns are startlingly relevant.