Johann Goransson is
a Swede who has lived in America for many years. He co-edits a small press
and translates Swedish poetry. The Fairy Tale Press 'is dedicated to helping
raise public awareness of the literary and cultural influence of fairy
tales'. It also 'seeks to improve the critical understanding of new works
sewn from fairy tales, and É revisit old tales across borders and time'.
Johann the carousel horse is the poet's navigator in a surreal flight. The
eponymous twelve page section concludes Pilot. Here is the first (untitled) poem:
Some people want to make
out of me
I prefer something more
something like a victim
but without the sound
Four of the eleven poems in this section are in Swedish so the borders
crossed are linguistic. Altogether there are about forty texts in Swedish. I
don't know the language but they seem to be parallel poems rather than
translations, if you can ever translate a poem!
Read Pilot fast. Remember Artaud, Dada and Andre Breton.
The foreword quotes from Breton: 'There are fairy tales to be written for
adults, fairy tales almost blue'.
You'll soon notice recurring words, e.g. body, white, chalk, shell, shovel,
camera, pearls, parasite. Forget grammar rules. Nouns are used as verbs, e.g.
girls, anorexed. There are sound improvisations like this:
softly to suit
the new fit
the out-fit, in-fit
fit-mouth ('Aerial view')
tell us to sound out
insects and outsects
in a looted museum
the echo told us
about vocal chords ('At
the plug show:')
One recurring word is exocity. This is a term in particle physics. Exotic
matter is any material difficult to produce, like metallic hydrogen, material
which violates one or more of the classic conditions or is not made of
baryonic particles, e.g. negative mass, or repelled by gravity instead of
attracted. It is used in speculative theories like the construction of worm
holes, much favoured in science fiction. So maybe what we have here is the
physics of the absurd or Zen physics. Exocity also improvises into retro-city
The book has a blue cover. It features a Picasso line drawing from 1916 for
the ballet Parade. Two
naked men together form a horse. One wears a mask, the other a tail.
Pilot is an assemblage of particles. The recurring
words could have come from a quarry text, perhaps a Swedish fairy tale about
the pearls of Stockholm, or not! Either way it's a challenge for the reader
adventurous enough to persevere and enjoy the puzzle. Lots of space on the
pages. Lots of intriguing possibilities.