PHYLLIS ODESSEY

“Spins over the hard packed snow like a top”

It’s a risky business attending an event between two authors you’ve never heard, even if Bjork is going to introduce one of them.  Sjon is not only a novelist, poet and playwright, he is collaborator with Bjork on many projects including Biophilia.  This last fact is apparently known to the hipster population of New York, which made up most of the audience on Thursday night.

My own acquaintance with Sjon’s work was limited to picking up his book The Blue Fox and reading a few pages before the doors opened at 7pm.  Written in terse, short paragraphs, many of pages are half full, which is not to diminish their strength or magnetism.

Iceland, like other parts of Scandinavia has a rich history of myths.  Sjon compared the unstable and shifting landscape of Iceland geologically to the folklore of his country:  a world populated by hidden forces.  A country of folk stories where nature manifests itself in hermetic customs.

“I am interested in the fact that the human being is always looking for itself in its surroundings.  We see a human face in a rock.  Nature is a mirror of ourselves to ourselves.”

“Just keep brushing your teeth, no matter how they tell you the world was made.”

If I had to choose one thing that Sjon said that made the evening worthwhile, it would be this:  “the lullaby is the origin of all of our participation in culture.  I am always aiming for something like the lullaby in my work.”    Up until Thursday night, I had  never thought about the lullaby as my connection to music, story or emotion.  

SJON
introduced by Bjork
Moderated by Hari Kunzu

Scandinavia House
May 9, 2013

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