In North America

Beneath the Ice: Contemporary Icelandic Poetry

Four Icelandic poets with share their work on January 8.

On Thursday, January 8 at 6:30 p.m., a group of Icelandic poets will share their unique and insightful poetry at the Scandinavia House in New York City. Although Iceland may be a small and isolated nation, the country has a vibrant contemporary poetry scene. Through conversation and performance, editor Helen Mitsios and translator Sola Bjarnadóttir-O’Connell will introduce four of the country’s most celebrated contemporary writers: Einar Már Guðmundsson, Didda Jónsdóttir, Gerður Kristný, and poet/songwriter Megas.

Einar Már Guðmundsson was born in Reykjavík and is an award winning and widely translated Icelandic author of novels, short stories, and poetry.  A leading voice of neorealism, his poetic diction is a bold attempt to make slang and foreign loan words legal tender in poetry, and to draw images from everyday life.

Didda Jónsdóttir published her first book, the poetry collection, A Gathering of Sins and Loose Screws, in 1995. She has since published two novels – Erta in 1997 and The Gold in the Head in 1999. Jónsdóttir also starred in Stormy Weather by French/Icelandic director Sólveig Anspach, which premiered at the Cannes Film Festival in 2003, and received the Icelandic Edda Film Award for Best Actress for her role in the film.

Gerður Kristný has published poetry, short stories, novels, and books for children. She graduated with a degree in French and Comparative Literature from the University of Iceland in 1992. After a course in Media Studies at the University of Iceland from 1992-93, she trained at Denmark’s Radio TV. Kristný was editor of the magazine Mannlif from 1998-2004 and now is a full-time writer.

Megas(Magnús Þór Jónsson) is one of Iceland’s most prolific and controversial artists and has been active since the 1970s. A poet, songwriter, and performer, he is widely considered the father of Icelandic rock and roll. His inclusion in Beneath the Ice: Contemporary Icelandic Poetry (Talisman House, Publishers, 2014) is the first time he has permitted his poems to be translated into and published in English.

The Scandinavia House is located at 58 Park Avenue @ 38th Street, New York, NY 10016. Click here for more information about the event and the evening’s participants.