This project was brought to my attention on Monday, and over the last few days I’ve become completely enthralled by it. The Hatch is located in Midtown Jackson, an area which has been undergoing revitalization since the mid 1990s. The goal of The Hatch is to offer a hub both for creative artists and start-up businesses/entrepreneurs, a place where they can work and share and inspire one another. I won’t waste your time trying to explain it all here – follow the links below to get all of the details. The posting at indiegogo.com has video and drawings and plenty of text to answer your questions!
More gnoetry, in four parts (if you’ve missed past posts about this, just fish around and find one – the first is here).
The poem in its original form:
sometime annex new thy knowledge st. truant
which did her much lip then the difference laid
in the bright in thy sweet king shows excusing argument
my subject orient I fight my self
Punctuation only has been added:
sometime, annex new thy knowledge, st. truant –
which did her much lip then the difference laid,
in the bright, in thy sweet; king shows excusing argument
my subject, orient, I fight my self.
— Only line breaks in this version:
annex new thy knowledge
which did her much lip
then the difference laid
in the bright
in thy sweet
king shows excusing argument
I fight my self
— Final form:
sometime – annex new thy knowledge,
which did her much lip, then the difference laid,
in the bright,
in thy sweet,
king shows – excusing argument;
my subject, orient –
I fight my self.
I’ve been quite fortunate in finding the writing of some spectacular non-American writers lately (Murakami, Sjon, etc). Sofi Oksanen is no different – an enormously talented writer with a spectacular story to tell. And, I suspect, many additional stories to come. Oksanen is in her mid-30s and lives in Finland. If you’d like to know more about her and her other writings, her website is sofioksanen.com.
Purge is the first of her books to be translated into English, and I hope more translation is slated for the near future. The novel won both the Nordic Council Literature Prize and the Finlandia Award. Award winning novels are not always what they are cracked up to be, but this one definitely is.
The novel is set in Estonia, with a storyline that continually carries us back and forth between the Soviet era (1940s-50s, primarily) and the early 1990s, when Estonia was finally free again. We follow the lives of two particular women, and to some degree, the people around them. Through the lives of these two women we see the existence one family over about a 50 years period. The novel is powerfully and poignantly written; I found myself reading even faster than I normally do because I couldn’t wait to find out how a particular section drew to conclusion. As we move through the story, Oksanen sometimes places us in the 1990s, sometimes in the 50s – but unlike many other modern books which experiment with this particular structure, Purge not only succeeds in avoiding artificiality, but is transformed by structure. The history of our family is opened by Oksanen precisely when we need it; the reader is always acutely aware that there are crucial pieces of the puzzle missing, and we slip into the past exactly when we need those tidbits of information.
The novel is tragic in many ways – tragically misplaced love, stolen love, no love, hiding, murder, forced prostitution, abuse, use, reuse, wasted lives, brutal governments – but Oksanen succeeds in weaving this tale with such beauty that each sentence draws us to the next, even in the places where we really don’t want to follow her. We follow her, and for our trust and our effort, we, as readers, are rewarded with a truly magnificent novel.
Buy Purge here!
You can find Purge at any major book retailer, or (my personal favorite) your local independent bookseller.
For more on the novel, see Sofi Oksanen’s website.