Silje Ree’s Melodilaust Tone Fall (Sampson Low, 2019; European Poetry Festival Series Edition #4) is a multilingual exploration of the caves and excavations, the mines and strongholds of language. Each page works across diction and tongue – with handwritten and digital kaleidoscope visual poems accompanying pages of personal reflection of how language crafts identity. Sliding from Norwegian into English, Ree reflects on the challenges of pronunciation and immigration. Each page maps the challenges of wrapping speech – and here the page and the direction of poetic composition – over political boundaries. Medlodilaust Tone Fall consists of lightly composed pages, words drift like a burr on the tongue, the inflection of an accent, the slight shift of pronunciation which moves a word from hear to here. Pages play with expectation, “the difference between ‘e’ and ‘I’” where language speaks identity and home and the garden where trees – Ree’s central metaphor of branching language forms – provide shade. With Melodilaust Tone Fall Ree quietly asks “if you do / recognize the language I speak / the words I tell you” the voices of a contemporary Europe draft across our streets like leaves on the wind.
Silje Ree is a Norwegian visual poet and artist exploring the interplay between words, languages and imagery through the medium of the book. She is a Visual Arts: Book Arts Postgraduate (UAL) based in London, and designs, creates and prints multilingual visual poetry books for her press, Mellom Press. Silje also curates Mellom Press exhibitions featuring international poets and artists. Her work has been published and displayed in places such as 3:am magazine, Live Encounters Poetry & Writing, Poem Atlas, The Poetry Society, 5th Base Gallery and Museum of Futures in London, and Lasso, Filologen and Studio K in Norway.
Derek Beaulieu is the author of over 20 volumes of poetry, prose and poetics. Most recently he edited Nights on Prose Mountain: The Fiction of bpNichol (Coach House Books, 2018) and wrote Aperture, a volume of day-glo concrete poetry (Penteract, 2019). He is the Director of Literary Arts and Banff Centre for Arts and Creativity in Banff, Canada.
© Derek Beaulieu