Rika Lesser, translator
Yale University Press, 2009
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.