I am a Swedish poet. I was born in Sweden, I grew up there and I still live there. In my country you have to look for poetry, it does not come with the tap water and you don’t hear it read out loud in the subway. Most Swedish poets are shy and anonymous, and they are mostly unknown to the public unless they work as copy-writers, which they do not, since the bureaus don’t trust them.
As a poet you are doomed to solitude. You have to take responsibility for your own writing, no one else will care as much as you do. You choose it and you stick to it. It is a job, or a kind of job. But there are no rules, no one tells you how to do it. Every poet has a niche of his own. Or rather, he is one. Still, poets yell at one another through dense woods, exchanging hints on cheap cooking and good pencils, trying to comfort each other when life is harsh.
Poetry is a very personal thing, but personally I do not consider poetry an expression of my inner self. It is not that simple. I think of poetry as a way of investigating things I do not understand, a way of getting closer to understanding, or getting closer to true confusion, because there is a true confusion that might be the closest you could come to the truth.
My inner self is confused in a sometimes good and almost constructive sense. I see my self as parts – not a part- of a movement, parts moving together to form a kind of broken-up understanding. I don’t believe in wholeness or in solid personalities, or I don’t believe solid personalities would write poetry. I think you have to be a misfit, or else poetry will make you one.
And yet, poetry is there to make things clear. Even if they are not. Poetry is an instrument, by which you can learn. The language takes you by the hand and leads you into the world. It will show it to you. It will show you backyards you never saw before. It will all be clear then. You have to trust your language angel an never let go of her hand. Without her you will be nothing.
But poetry is not a form of science, it is always an act of creation. It comes from man, and man is no scientific animal. Man is a hundred percent spiritual and unpredictable.
Poetry is therefore a good thing, because it allows you to say things in a non-linear manner. You can choose the words you need and leave out the in-betweens. The in-betweens will be there anyway, but not in the form of words. The words, left on their own, will become worlds, and the in-betweens will be the poetry and the space where they can spin.
There is very little real science in the world actually. Not enough for anyone to rely on. I think you can say that the world as we know it is a total artefact. It is all invented, made up by man, the unpredictable. It is a fantasy. And poetry is part of it.