Ugly Duckling Presse

Ideals Clearance
Ideals Clearance

Henry Parland

translated by Johannes Goransson

Poetry | $14 $11
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"Did anyone ever pack so much delightful weirdness into so few lines?"


from Stains


My idea of you
is like a straight line,
one end
smolders in hell
the other 
coils burning white in heaven
but in the middle
it’s sooty and cold.

I dialed up
a heart
where I knew 
there was no place
for me.
And the receiver sang.
Blood-heavy, steady



Close ˆ

About the Author

Henry Parland
Henry Parland’s (1908-1930) brief but prolific and highly influential career as a poet, essayist and novelist was shaped by the tumultuous times of Russia and Europe between the two world wars. He lived in Russia, Finland and Lithuania, but his first language was German. His wide range of literary influences included Finland-Swedish Expressionism, Dada and Die Neue Sachlichkeit from Germany, Russian Futurism and Formalism, American writers Carl Sandberg, Edgar Lee Masters and F. Scott Fitzgerald, and French novelists Marcel Proust and André Gidé. In addition, he was profoundly interested in international popular arts such as film, advertisement, fashion, jazz, and dancing. Rather than thinking of Parland as a Swedish or even a Finland-Swedish poet, it may be more useful to consider him a member of the cosmopolitan movement of exiles and immigrants that moved around in Europe following the collapse of the old political order and the destabilizing of borders.

About the Translator

Johannes Goransson

Johannes Göransson is the co-editor of Action Books and the online quarterly Action, Yes. In 2005, Action Books published Remainland: Selected Poems of Aase Berg, which he translated from Swedish. Goransson was a guest editor of the Winter 2006 special Swedish issue of the journal Typo, which featured substantial selections of work by major Swedish-language Modernists and contemporary poets. For Ugly Duckling Presse he has translated Ideals Clearance by Henry Parland (2007) and Transfer Fat by Aase Berg (2012).

Advance Praise

Just when you thought there were no more discoveries to be made in modernist poetry, along comes a Finno-Swedish Russian German Lithuanian teen prodigy from the 1920's, Henry Parland, in Johannes Göransson's zippy translation. Did anyone ever pack so much delightful weirdness into so few lines?—ELIOT WEINBERGER