Life in a Reykjavik Suburb

Sigurbjorg Thrastardottir
Sigurbjorg003 copy
Sigurbjorg Thrastardottir
Sigurbjorg Thrastardottir (1973) is a writer and columnist in Reykjavik. Her debut collection of poetry, Blálogaland (Land of Blue Flames) was published in spring 1999, followed the year after by a collection of road-poetry, Hnattflug (Circumnavigation), which was voted best poetry book of the season by staff-members of Icelandic bookstores. Her first novel, Sólar saga (The Story of Sun), received the Tomas Gudmundsson Literary Prize 2002. The prize is granted every other year by the Mayor of Reykjavik. The story is that of a young Icelandic girl who is subjected to a brutal attack and rape in Italy, where she is a student. Sól (Sun) explains her search for herself, collecting the pieces of a self-image that has been shattered. Thrastardottir's poetry has been translated into several languages and published in anthologies in Germany, Sweden and Italy.
Read about The Tómas Gudmundsson Literary Prize won recently by Sigurbjorg Thrastardottir. And read poems by Sigurbjorg Thrastardottir below. Translations by Bernard Scudder.


The sky over Bologna
is split
by one and a half towers

the taller
I have climbed
in a heatwave
thinking of
all the suicide attempts
in the world

the short one
leans as in contrast

depend upon
which side you jump.

Cape Canaveral

We were never launched
yet at a breath-taking pace
a crazed man
surely sits
at the controls
though he can't be seen from here

from the back of the capsule
we hear stray rumours
about a course
but we don't listen any more
don't believe in anything
but there's one thing
surely we must have had roots
family trees used to grow here
quite well
hewn and shaped to fuel
this progressive craft
which consumes least
when free of the ground
best of all
not to cut the turf
never to touch


The airline will be offering a new-fangled service in the future: boeing 737 jets are driven along motorways on the continent of europe between famous historic sites wine is served generously and the most popular route is düsseldorf-naples because then there's time for three bottles of beaujolais nouveau two crates of stella export and a good four glasses of asti gancia to drink toasts with randy wheat farmers valiant tax evaders short-sighted prostitutes and other citizens of the community who wave eagerly to the passengers when the jets roll past with all their lights on for landing.

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