Review: Karl Frode Teller “Alien Land”

Review: Karl Frode Teller "Alien Land"

a poem



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«Elbows forward from the start.»

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In this book, Teller writes accurately and resplendently. I don’t think there is anything superfluous in this text anywhere. It’s kind of a forward elbow from the start, and demands its place in the reader’s daily life: “Shut up/Listen when I talk to you.”

The book consists of one long poem. The person who calls himself “the Bohemian and the Watcher in the Village” has been talking from the start. Already on the first page of the book we encounter some wonderful lines of poetry:

“Every evening I arrive in the rusty Amazon without a steering wheel and wheels, and go drunk to the mortuary / There I lift the letters from the tombstones and put them together in poems that only the dead will understand”

small and big

Further, large portions of “Det Framande landet” are told in your form. In a way, the poem tells two parallel stories, one about an individual’s fairly ordinary life, and the other about the development of human culture, religion, and society as such. Not trifles, in other words. Or small and large. On the one hand, the transition from the time I was a student in Trondheim to life with a roommate, children and “corner sofa from Mübleringen”, on the other hand, was a story about high cultures, about the Greek mythological hero Odysseus who “heard the beautiful siren song, and about Various “Kingdoms, Wars and Revolutions”.

The central line of development in Teller’s long poems is that from harsh conditions to prosperity, or from a filthy celibate life to petty-bourgeois habits: suddenly there are no more grandees and kebabs, but delicious dishes and wine from the “choice of Boulet.” But just as so-called civilization was built on slavery and exploitation, so comfortable modern life also has its price: some still actually work in mines, on sawmills and construction sites, or in factories with assembly lines. Behind him sings a wealth of extinct animal species.

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Later in the book, the whole thing becomes more explicitly political. Referred to as the “union breakers of Amazon, Elkjøp, and Wizz Air” and to the community that has been “filtered and removed from the images”, “replaced by advertising and reality”.

In several places Teller alludes to “refrain” in the Old Norse poem Volospa, in which he asks the clairvoyant: “Do you know enough or what?”. Teller’s poem also contains something of a vision. There is something expansive and relentless. As if it was written in some kind of angry bell.

Somewhere in the poem he was talking about “The land where the dead, the living and the unborn live side by side with the past, the present and the future flowing together like watercolors on a palette from childhood.”

Something like that is what Teller achieves: It allows all kinds of eras to slip into one another and give color to one another, without becoming mysterious or seeming pretentious. It directs the reader to various points where past, present, and future meet, and he does so in very inspiring ways.

Ashura Okorie

Ashura Okorie

"Infuriatingly humble web fan. Writer. Alcohol geek. Passionate explorer. Evil problem solver. Incurable zombie expert."

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