Ingrid Storholmen -Earth Word

Profile Ingrid Storholmen LE P&W Dec V Two 2018

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Earth Word, poem by Ingrid Storholmen

Translation from Norwegian by Marietta Maddrell

Ingrid Storholmen was born in Verdal, Norway, on 22 May 1976. She studied literature at the University of Bergen, and spent one year at a creative writing school. She was the literature editor of Morgenbladet, a culture newspaper in Norway. For five years, she was the writer-in-residence at ‘Adrianstua’, a writer’s house in Trondheim. She started the Trondheim International Literature Festival during her stay there, and also founded the literary magazine LUJ with two colleagues. She has published six books: The Law of the Poacher (2001, Shamespeesch); Graceland (2005); Siri’s Book (2007); Voices from Chernobyl (2009); To Praise Love (2011) published by Aschehoug in Oslo, Norway. Here Lies Tirpitz (2014).

She has received many literary awards and prizes for her work, and her poetry has been translated into eighteen languages. Voices from Chernobyl bagged the Sult Prize 2010, and was shortlisted for the 2009 Critics’ Prize, the 2009 Brage Award and the 2009 Youth Critics’ Prize, the Sult award, and she was nominated to the world largest literary award for a single work published in English, the IMPAC Dublin Literary award, for “The Voices of Chernobyl”. Twice she has a three year long scholarship from the state of Norway, now she has got a five year scholarship from the Norwegian Writers union, and she has been reading at poetry festivals all over the world from Slovenia to India.

Earth Word

The Earth that turns around
The Earth that looks at the sky
The Earth that knows it is floating
And lying still, allows itself to be tilled, shaped, damaged
The Earth that does not resist,
That (calmly) sees the corn circles emerging
The labyrinths formed of stone around the year 1000
Sees and recognises the churchyards
That are filled and filled, now graves on top of old graves
The monuments that receive new names
New bodies in the clay
The Earth is present at your burial
The Earth lives from your dying
The Earth you tilled takes you
Up into itself
You are earth now
Mould and remains, for a while
Then only mould.  Memory
Then the flowers will remember you
Remember the water you gave them
Gave the Earth and you are no more than earth
The Earth is more than you
Sand earth
Strand earth
The black earth belt, no
The windowbox
The lawn
The park
The flowerbed
The meadow
The fields that have names
Names you should have remembered
And forget, the earth they owned
The earth they cleared
The earth that had been full of trees, shrubs
They settled and sowed
Now it is you
Now it is you who will sow
And make love in the meadow, every summer.

To own earth, feel the ownership
Rage and grieve when it is sold, or seized
See it sprout again, become golf courses
That is what we are busy with here
This is the earth under our feet
It is too little food and too much food
The Earth does not understand it


The Earth need not understand

Good morning
Earth      good morning

Good morning

Good morning

The Earth must be tilled and you can’t be bothered
Like hell you can’t be bothered
You change the subject you are debating with yourself
You hate the idea
Hate, hate doing it, tilling
The apartment isn’t earth
The vacuum cleaner isn’t filled with earth
Oh no, because it isn’t so
You are to write an earth language
Write  e a r t h
With   w o r d
Write in the earth, sow in patterns
The words without earth
A long earth war
This is my earth
My native earth I am standing on
But you have forgotten it
You can forget it
But not everyone wants to forget
And you do not understand them
You do not understand the gardener
Or the parents who plant trees
one tree for each child
Earth against word
Land and strand
The Earth does not need words
But fertiliser and water

Earth in space, Earth in time, Earth in faith
She believes in Earth
On the Earth
Do we have to bury each other
Between earth and earth they meet

Laborious for the earth, this, all the people, all the animals, we demand
I am so tired on the earth
Burial in earth
Do not bury me now
Find the Earth inside me
Then around me


The Earth seen from space
“how beautiful
And how doomed”

© Ingrid Storholmen