Kristina Leganger Iversen’s “Hjartemekanikk”

The Bridge Between Body and Heart: Hjartemekanikk

by Karina Rose Mahan

  • Author: Kristina Leganger Iversen
  • Paperback: 100 pages
  • Publisher: Samlaget (September 2011)
  • Language: Nynorsk
  • ISBN-13: 978-82-521-7805-0

I wanted to see the heart /eg ville sjå hjartet

without metaphors, unbounded by stories /utan metaforar fri for forteljingane

what I found was the atrium, the room /det eg fann var atrium, rommet

with the furnace, and the heart became flaming, I found /med eldstad, og hjartet blei flammande, eg fann

atriovetricular valves and semilunar valves that waved through the bloodstream /seglklaffar og halvmåneklaffar som blafra i blodstraumen

the heart became a ship, a window / hjartet blei eit skip, eit vindauge

with the wind blowing/med vinden susande

the blood singing I found /blodet syngjande eg fann

two heart sounds, one heart /to hjartetonar, eit hjarte

that plays, that pulsates, that always beats, /som speler, som pulserer, som alltid slår

that can lose its rhythm, get out of /som kan miste rytmen, kome ut av

beat, lose a throb /takten, mister eit slag

that can burst out of sorrow /som kan sprekke av sorg

lose itself /tape seg sjølv

if love fails /om kjærleiken sviktar

Such is one of the many poems of debut author Kristina Leganger Iversen’s poetry collection “Hjartemekanikk” (or Heart Mechanics). It is written in Nynorsk and was just published this fall by Samlaget. The book is an interesting blend of story and poetry – it is about a couple who are hit by a car one day on their way to the beach. The man, a music student, dies, and his girlfriend, a medical student, drowns herself in her studies, desperate to find out more about the workings of the body, which slowly help her come to terms with his death.

Iversen’s poems are a literary example of traumatology, if you will – they tell us the process of the patient, the process of the body, and the process of pain. The protagonist, a medical student, realizes herself that there is an “other” side that she was not taught in her medical studies: “this they didn’t tell us about / how your body feels as if it is cracking under the cast, the nightmares about ants / crawling out of the hair follicles that have been newly shaven before the operation, they didn’t tell.” Unspoken voices and the many different sides of an event unfold in this story as we move from her chapters “Autopsy” to “Heart Mechanics,” and finally “Traumatology.”

There is a certain skill to showing the beauty of tramautology, to narrating pain, and I believe Iversen has done this gracefully. The poems are close to the body … perhaps too close for some, but if you are willing to delve into the depths of your own workings, then this a poetry collection for you.

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And those interested can of course purchase the book at this site.

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