The Sampson Low European Poets Series - To celebrate European Poetry Festival 2019, four brand new publications by contemporary literary and avant-garde Norwegian poets, have been produced in limited editions by London-based press, Sampson Low. With both new translated volumes alongside conceptual collections, the four poets featured represent the best of 21st century European and Scandinavian literature and the kind of innovative, resonant and entirely individual poetics that define the festival and its programme. A partner of the fest, Sampson Low has been publishing since 1812 and led by artist Alban Low, specialise in boutique poetry publications such as these.
Orbiting the Yellow Ball is a poetic journey through the modern history, culture and literary character of tennis. Carefully composed, often funny, observational and allusive, this collection by poet, doctor and lifelong tennis player Jon Ståle Ritland, insists on a physical poetry that leads the reader from the cosmos into the inner world of the yellow ball. An ode to the beauty of tennis, but also a reflection of its psychology, this is an assortment of poems that show how tennis, and sport in general, can be a potent poetic metaphor for existence.
Jon Ståle Ritland (born 1968) is a poet and ophthalmologist from Norway. He has published 3 collections of poetry: "Kroppsvisitasjoner" (Aschehoug, 2004), translated to English [Body Searches], Broken Dimanche Press 2013, "Vannmerker" [Watermarks] (Aschehoug, 2009), and I bane rundt en gul ball (Olympiastadion 2014), translated to English [Orbiting the yellow ball], Sampson Low 2019. Poems have also been translated to Hungarian and Russian. Ritland's poems have been presented at Agora, Berlin (2013), Oslo International Poetry Festival (2014), StAnza in St Andrews, Scotland (2013, 2015), Poetry International Festival Rotterdam (2016). He was also a curator of The Gravity of Words, a 3D-poetryfilm
Melodilaust tone fall continues Silje Ree’s significant exploration of bi-lingual poetics, utilising the Norwegian and English languages and their connections and disconnections as a poetic tool. Exploiting what she terms “bilingual opportunities”, Ree’s poetry is accentuated, rather than interrupted, by the mistakes and confusion bilingualism creates. Her words take variant visual forms, often diagrammatic and even straying into the cartographic and illustrative, and evolve into new shapes that make a case for an alternative, and mindfully visual kind of poetry. One that is not only comfortable, but entirely based upon, multi-linguality.
Silje Ree is a Norwegian poet and artist based in London, she’s currently studying MA Book Arts at Camberwell College. In 2018, she published E∩N, a poetry pamphlet which uses words found across the English and Norwegian languages. The same year she displayed her work in a solo exhibition “Linguistic Development” at Studio K in Norway. She has published poetry in 3am magazine, Lasso and Filologen.
Expect the Baboon, the debut English language publication by Norwegian poet and literary critic Morten Langeland, evidences the unmistakable aesthetic of one of Scandinavia's definitive 21st century poetic talents. A selected volume, drawing together multiple translations by multiple translators, Langeland's sequential writings seamlessly blend a casual, ironic, observational tone with linguistic play, unforeseen imagery and humour. At times elliptical, playful, coy and mysterious, Langeland's poems are entirely distinct, insisting on deceptive tones to startle and engage the reader, evoking Baboon gods, Greek islands and Picasso's Chicago to get to the same end. A poetic surgery, a disquieted calm.
Morten Langeland (born 1986) is a Norwegian poet, artist and a literary critic. He received his Master’s in Creative Writing from Litterär Gestaltning in Göteborg, and his MFA from The Academy of Fine Art at the Oslo National Academy of the Arts. Langeland has published five books of poetry since his debut Æ æ å (Kolon Forlag, 2012), including Zoonetter (Flamme Forlag, 2017) and Svamp (Flamme Forlag, 2019).
Swallowing Feathers, the debut publication by Norwegian-Spanish poet, artist and actress Vilde Valerie Bjerke Torset, asks of the reader whether the handwritten word might paradoxically evidence a more crystalline poetics. Operating at two levels, this remarkable and complex set of poems explores the possibilities of semantic disjunction, over and mishearing and daily, conversational language smashed against imagist poetics while being rendered in neat, characterful hand-scribed bursts. This pamphlet, resolutely a slim volume of poems, asks what we learn about a poet from their pen, and what is possible when your debut chapbook is written in your third language.
Vilde Valerie Bjerke Torset is a Norwegian Spanish poet, artist and actor living in London. Her publications include works in 3am magazine, A New Type of Imprint, BRYGG, Alvar, Ren Sommer and Utflukt. She was a member of the Experiments and Innovations in Poetry program at Kingston University, where won the 2018 writers graduation prize.