CL(P) Works, 2016.
Reviewed by Anna Tebelius in SBR 2017:1
Review Section: Poetry
Elis Burrau’s first full-length poetry collection och vi fortsatte att göra någonting rörande is a fragmented but alluring investigation into finding a poetic identity. It’s an opportunity to sample the very latest of young Swedish poetry.
The small publishing company CLP Works is part of a growing trend of independent publishers in Sweden which, less shackled by the constraints of bigger publishing companies, are able to unreservedly publish the literature that they want to read. In och vi fortsatte att göra någonting rörande they offer their readers the chance to catch a poetic moment that in Burrau’s words is steeped in a very present now. Although Burrau’s poetry seems to want to capture the timeless paradox of language’s power and powerlessness there is something essentially ephemeral in his fleeting images of meetings and memories, in his instructions to a poetic self and in the voice that is simply identified as ‘the child’. His language is both direct and intertextual, and filled with references to popular culture and literature. Here and there, there are English or perhaps rather American expressions translated and filtered into Swedish vernacular language.
Burrau, born in 1992, is already quite a prolific writer, despite his youth and the fact that this is his first major collection. Formerly a student at the influential Biskops Arnö creative writing school, he is widely published in Swedish contemporary literary magazines including Lyrikvännen, 10TAL, Ordkonst and Const Literary (P)review, and online. He runs a poetry site, in English, called The New Level (of Poetry) and writes a literary/art blog called vi som aldrig skrev prosa (we who never wrote prose), and he is the literature editor of the magazine Nöjesguiden.
With 164 pages of text Burrau’s collection is quite long, and the poems are themselves of varying length and style. The number of poems, however, gives Burrau the scope to create a context for his writing and initiate a dialogue with the reader. When one first dips into the text it can seem self-referential, and perhaps it is in some ways meant to be. These are Burrau’s memories,reflections; these are his instructions to himself.Yet this inward-looking perspective crackles when suddenly Burrau allows the reader to see what he sees.The instructions and the descriptions become a way of putting into words how it may be possible to write, how it may be possible to become a poet. Just follow these guidelines. Join Burrau referencing the world around him. He has the ideas and that is a good place to start. In one poem he writes:
skapa en egen logik
som rimmar med din person
var trogen den logiken
create your own logic
that rhymes with you
be faithful to that logic