Mozart's Third Brain
Rika Lesser, translator
Mozart's Third Brain is a powerful book-length poem by the esteemed Swedish poet Göran Sonnevi. In her preface to the book, Rosanna Warren writes that Sonnevi "reinvents the long poem and reinvents poetic language. What threatens to sprawl. . . turns out to engage in a disciplined quest to integrate private consciousness . . . enter wider and wider connections. . . ." Throughout the book, Sonnevi intensely weaves together the personal with politics, current events, mathematics, ethics, music, philosophy, nature, and more. The poems bring in so much of the world and reflect on the different ways people conceive of things and how modes of perception change what is seen. The translator, Rika Lesser, a poet herself, brings Sonnevi into a charged, complex, and ranging English. Her engaging introduction sheds light on the poet and the process through which the translation came into being.
This book review originally appeared in American Poets.