He had published several different volumes of the stuff and insisted that I should buy at least one of them, much in the same way a mugger insists that you hand over your wallet. In fact this person was the exact opposite of the stereotypical image of the sensitive and delicate poet. Which was ironic as I was sitting there waiting to interview a poet, thankfully a young woman who looked like someone I could beat at arm wrestling, just about. I mention her colleague, the hooligan poet, and Þórdís laughs.
“Oh, him. Don’t you know him? He once killed a man, you know.” Somehow that comes as no surprise to me.
The Human Body and Fruit (Ást og appelsínur) is the first published work of Þórdís Björnsdóttir which unfortunately has not been translated into English yet, but Þórdís claims to have sold at least three copies to foreigners who are studying Icelandic.
“It is written in a really simple and straightforward way; even children can understand it. I wanted to write something that was simple and something that everyone could read.” And it is so much cooler being seen studying Icelandic with this little number at cafés and bars instead of your average text book or children’s story. Many of the poems are bloody and brutal. People keep killing, shooting and maiming and yet strangely most of them are about love. This is pure horror literature at times. Where does the horror come from?
“I wrote a lot of horror stories when I was a pubescent teenager and at the time I was very much into that kind of stuff. Later I moved away from the horror genre, grew up and now I find that I am intrigued by it, but in a different way. I guess I am revisiting my past.
What other themes do you cover?
I compare the human body with fruit. You peel fruit, rip it apart, devour chunks of it and its juices run and flow and…I am quite into fruit at the moment. Especially pineapples, oranges and grapes.”
But of course, who isn’t?
“I always, always keep a pineapple on my table. My plants kept dying so I switched over to pineapples.”
Poet, student, single mom
Þórdís is keeping very busy, she is writing her dissertation and finishing her degree in literature at the University of Iceland as well as studying Spanish because she is going to Granada to study Spanish literature. All this as well as raising her five year old daughter and publishing her first book of poetry. A tall order for anyone. And she has already started to work on her next book.
“Yes, it is going to be green.”
Ást og appelsínur is already in the shops and it is a handsome and proper one with a beautiful and serene cover that lures you to buy the horror poems.
You have already started to design the cover of your next book?
“No, the book will have a green feeling to it.”
Ást og appelsínur is available at all better bookshops, even in Akranes. If you happen to meet Þórdís around town she might sell you a copy at a discount. Keep your eyes peeled.