Monday, March 10, 2014

LIFE OF A POET - BJORN RUDBERG

We have a real treat this week, kids, as we are going to visit Bjorn Rudberg, of  Bjorn Rudberg's Writings, in Sweden!!!!! (Be still, my heart! Mountains! Snow! Beautiful wilderness!) Bjorn is active in the blogosphere, so you likely know him from dVerse or Poets United. His emergence as a poet began on Twitter! And we get to benefit from his crossover to the world of online blogging. We need a hot drink, I think, for this interview, as there are some chilly snowy peaks on all sides. And such beauty as will amaze the eye!



Sherry: Bjorn, so happy to be meeting with you.  I know this is going to be interesting. Will you tell us a little about yourself, where you live, and with whom you share your life?





Bjorn: I live outside Stockholm, in a house with a wild garden where we have plenty of trees, and no lawns. My wife is a physicist like me and we met already at university. We have no kids but often act as extra parents for friend's kids (especially teenagers seem to think we are cooler than their parents)


Our garden in spring

Sherry: Such a beautiful garden - I like gardens natural, like yours. I read that you studied as a physicist, then switched careers. Would you like to tell us anything about that?  

Bjorn: Basically I took my PhD in physics and then switched to the more practical and application part of the world, and gradually I moved more into business development. I still use part of what I learned every day, but I combine it with economy and strategy.

Sherry: I am wondering, is there a way in which the worlds of physics and poetry, which seem so dissimilar, connect for you?

Bjorn: Physics is about understanding the world. To understand the details in how things fit together. It's also about a specific language and talking in code and abbreviations, to some extent. I think poetry is about explaining, and making things clear by the use of metaphors and other tools. It actually has a lot of similarity in how to explain physics to a non-physicist.


Canopies of our garden

Sherry: Ah, I can see some similarity! Tell us how you came to the world of poetry.

Bjorn: My poetic career started with twitter. I was at a technology conference and opened up a twitter account. Actually the first piece of poetry I read was the resigning CEO of Sun Microsystems who did it in the form of a haiku. So I started to follow various poetry prompts, and got into word games. You get a word and tweet something funny or poetic on that word. Twitter works for haiku, tanka and other short poetry, and I still write shorter poems more or less every day (@brudberg).

I connected with some twitter friends and we started to write collaborative poems (we still do that). I originally started the blog to collect these longer poems. 

Then through twitter friends that also had blogs I saw different fiction and poetry prompts.

Sherry: How do you think  blogging has impacted your growth as a poet?

Bjorn: Living in Sweden, there is no natural poetry scene for poetry in English, so without blogging and the different communities out here, I would never have even begun, and all growth would have been impossible. 


Sarek Mountain

Sherry: Tell us, what do you love about poetry?

Bjorn: There are two aspects that I'm attracted to. First, it's the musical qualities of a text; the poetic toolbox allows me to write texts that enhance and attract the reader. I always try  to read them loud, and I have recently started to add sound files with my readings. There is much to learn there, and since I never managed any  instruments but still love music, I see poetry as a musical expression.

The second aspect is its content. To create surprise, or emotions in a brief format. Sometimes if I get upset about something in the news, I can add a political dimension to my poetry, though I prefer to be a voice of reason, than to confront others with my words.

Sherry: You write most often in form poetry. What is the appeal of form over free verse, for you?

Bjorn: I think I have moved into more free verse gradually. To me a free verse is not free of form; it's just that you have to invent the form as well as the content. Form is one way to exercise my poetic muscles. In some way, it also helps me with an element of randomness. A rhyme might, for instance, steer the poem in an unexpected direction that was not my original intention. It has struck me that  a sonnet in this way also  has an element of found poetry.




She seeks the roses of a faded youth

and saves them deep inside her treasure chest
its wheels could play a madrigal of truth
but all she hears is sunshine when it’s best

Her eyes are diamonds in a faded sky
she’s barefoot hopscotching on wet concrete
and has forgotten all that’s when or why
she smells the orchards of a car’s back seat
Her tousled hair recalls the ponytail
with ribbons tied by mother’s forceful hands
she smells the honey in a bread’s gone stale
but she’s forgotten all her actress plans.

The shopping cart she’s pushing to her home

among the dumpsters she will find her tomb

Sherry: Such a powerful and poignant portrait you have painted here.  It astounds me that you write so skillfully in English, when it is your second language. Do you write in Swedish as well?

Bjorn: I have never written poetry in Swedish, but have recently started to think about writing also in my mother tongue.  To a large extent it has to do with the fact that the communities where I'm active would not appreciate it. I also think that I would have to rethink some of my poetic thinking, to be able to put my thoughts on paper.

Sherry:  Some poets post their poem in English, with the translation into their mother tongue underneath. I find it lends an intriguing quality -an extra dimension- to their work. 

Tell us about your skiing and trekking in the northern mountains. So cool! Have you always had this call to wild places? 

Mountain in summer

Bjorn: My father was a professor of geography, which meant that he worked outdoors, exploring for his research, all the time. Me and my sister were always forced to come along. It was a curse and a blessing, but when I met my wife I was not scared to follow her on treks into the northern mountains. We have also kayaks, so as long as it's free from ice, we can get out in the archipelago right where we live. So in a sense I have always lived in ways so as much time as possible should be spent outdoors.


Mountain in winter

Me and my wife spend almost all our vacation time in outdoor activity. It's good for the health and you feel the change of season much better.


Fragrant Song - a triolet

I seek a place in time and space
where flowers sing their fragrant song
I seek a place with slower pace
I seek a place in time and space
I’m yearning for a soft embrace
where summer feelings linger long
I seek a place in time and space
where flowers sing their fragrant song

Sherry: That is so beautiful! Loving the wilderness, what are your thoughts on environmental degradation?  Do you have hope we can slow this down?  Do you see any effects of global warming in your northern mountains?

Bjorn: I would say my hopes are not high. I have actually seen things getting better if we act: the air is cleaner, there is less poison in the lakes. But the over-consumption of resources is what always concerns me most. It's much more about life-style and perceptions, and that takes time to change. 

Are we willing to live in smaller houses, drive less, eat less meat, etcetera. All those are choices that we have to do as individuals. I'm not the best person always, but at least I get a bad feeling over my own over-indulgence. When you spend your time in a tent, you realize how little you really need. When a bunk-bed indoors becomes luxury. I think more people need to do this type of reflection.


Mountain camping


Sherry: You are so right, my friend. We need a global shift in individual consciousness. You are surrounded by the most beautiful landscape! May it be preserved, always.

You describe yourself as a poetry novice, though you are so talented, we beg to differ. What advice would you give other beginning poets?

Bjorn: For me, the following works:

1. Read and comment on other works much more than you write. Online communities are good in the sense that they make a dialogue possible.
2. Make use of all the writing prompts, find your favourites and interact.
3. Read your poems aloud – that's how it's meant to be. If you dare, record and listen.
4, Think color contrasts and don't be scared to try new words – use online dictionaries and the internet for research and inspiration.
5 Have Fun

Sherry: Good advice! Is there anything else you’d like to say to Poets United?

Bjorn: I have met very few of the poets in real life, but I think I know many of you better than acquaintances I meet every day. I think meeting in real life would be great, and send me a line if you would happen to be in Stockholm.

Sherry: I often think the same thing: my online friends know me better than many of my real life people. Thanks, Bjorn, for this wonderful visit and a glimpse of your life in beautiful Sweden. Enjoy your wonderful outdoor adventures! Store them up. I know, now, how important it is to have a well-stocked memory larder for one's later years!

Sigh. Wasn't that wonderful, my friends? The beauty of Bjorn's surroundings is breathtaking. And he enjoys it to the max. Do come back and see who we talk to next. Who knows? It might be you!


48 comments:

  1. bjorn!!!!!!!!
    great interview sherry....bjorn is good people...and he def follows his own advice...and reads a ton of people...and not just to give the 'you are great' feedback, so you can tell he actually reads...he is a great asset as a pub tender at dverse poets...love your thoughts on the environment as well...

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. To be invited to participate in dVerse has meant a great deal to me Brian.. I know it's timeconsuming, but even more enjoyable... :-)

      Delete
  2. Thank you so much Sherri, what a wonderful result of the interview.. Today and tonight I'm actually in Rome, so I will be checking in here if there are any questions :-) Have fun and a happy Monday to you all.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. You are most welcome, my friend. Enjoy Rome. A feast for the eyes!

      Delete
  3. Sherry, thanks for the wonderful interview of Bjorn. Bjorn, it is so good to learn more about you. You are definitely far more than a novice poet; and what I admire most is the way you work with forms & artwork as you do various prompts. Your talents and subject matter are diverse, and you not only write poetry you are also a strong community member as well! I love the mountain views you've shared, though I must admit I would enjoy the mountain experience much more in summer than winter. Smiles!!

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Ah. The winter experience is so lovely... It' feels even more that you are one with nature,

      Delete
  4. Björn is the first poet I have come across in the poetry blogosphere and from his blog I visited others. I like what you write Björn and enjoyed what you shared about yourself. I enjoy your form poetry, and Fragrant Song is no exception. "To me a free verse is not free of form; it's just that you have to invent the form as well as the content." - I think you are right. Writing free verse is not just jotting random words on a page.
    Thank you, Sherry, for yet another great interview!

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. It is these wonderful people who make my job so easy. All I have to do is type out what they tell me. It is always SO interesting. I especially love your remarks about the environment, Bjorn, as it is up to each one of us to make the Change.

      Delete
  5. What a wonderful glimpse into a life spent at the opposite end of the world to mine. I am a great admirer of Bjorn's poetry and view of life. I also appreciate the pleasure he takes in the natural world.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Thank you Kerry, there are so much to admire. But in a way it's a mere reflection of the beauty within....

      Delete
  6. woot! great to see björn featured here - i have come to appreciate him a lot - his poetry - his reading and commenting - the work that he does at dVerse - thanks for a great interview and thanks björn for investing so much into the poetic community as well

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. The world in the poetry is so new to me.. I truly love all that it has given me.. And the more I give the more I get back.

      Delete
  7. What a wonderful surprise ~ Thanks Sherry for featuring Bjorn & I am envious of those mountains, smiles ~ What I admire about Bjorn is the ease he tackles form poetry ~ He makes it look so easy ~

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. I would say it looks easy when I see other's do it also... And sometimes I found it extremely challenging.

      Delete
  8. Bjorn is a wonderful poet and person. I really enjoy his work and his support of other poets in the blogosphere. And what a beautiful place Sweden is! Thanks Sherry!

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Thank you ;-) so much to enjoy around the world.,

      Delete
  9. That's Sherry for a great feature. Bjorn's poetry definitely speaks to something within me and I always enjoy my visits to his blog. His work often contains a lot of depth of thought and I love what that he is able to convey so many nuances in his second language. He's an inspiration and someone whose work I truly admire. Thanks again to both you and Bjorn for sharing this here.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Thank you Kathryn,.. I truly learn so much every day I read other's poetry..

      Delete
  10. Oh, lovely to know more about Bjorn, whose poetic presence online is so strong and vibrant.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Thank you.. I so much enjoy writing and reading...

      Delete
  11. Hey, Bjorn, your advice for novice poets is excellent! I'm happy to see more pictures of garden and terrain--and think about whittling life down to what might fit in a tent. What if it were a law that no one could have more than a room worth of stuff, and to have also a family room and kitchen you would have to share with 4 people? Half the world doesn't even have that. I look forward to your poems at dVerse and here and your comments on my work. You always make me think. I'm so glad Sherry interviewed you.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Wow, Susan, you really make me think! I DO live in one room, with a small kitchenette and teeny bathroom and I STILL have too much Stuff. I will be moving to even smaller quarters in Tofino - if such is possible - and Bjorn's comments, and yours, make really valid points. We drag way too much along with us, stuff we never even use.

      Delete
    2. I think it's worth thinking of indeed.. And still I have a whole house filled with stuff.

      Delete
  12. Bjorn! Always enjoy reading your poems and comments not only for my poems...feel your caring heart despite cold of Sweden. Love your suggestions for beginners. Your participation in online blogworld inspires! Much Love and thanks for the interview! Gratitude to Sherry!xx

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Ah.. Sweden is not very cold any longer... But thank you.. Always visit your reading with great anticipation.

      Delete
  13. This is a real treat Sherry....and Bjorn I must say that I have great respect for physicists..wow...I like how you blend your subject in art form...loved that infinity and zero poem of yours...and I also enjoy your haiku...those are little many faceted gems....your comments on poems truly show your love for poetry....

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Thank you... Haiku has really learned me to be brief...

      Delete
  14. Bjorn, great guy! Nice to know you better. You have been most prolific and most faithful with returning comments. That says a lot to lend success to our community. Love your inroads into other various forms. You're most versatile. Writing different forms seem second nature to you. Your taking over at the bar at odd times is very much appreciated too.
    Thanks for being there with us and thanks to Sherry too.

    Hank

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Ah yes it's a joy meeting you too Hank... You were actually one of the very first leaving a comment on my poetry.

      Delete
  15. Bjorn, a pleasure to know you and your poetry!
    physics and poetry seem odd bedfellows, but after reading your interview, i see the connection. :)

    ReplyDelete
  16. Thanks , I found it strange too... But not so much any longer... And learning that there are many other backgrounds out there I think it adds to diversity.

    ReplyDelete
  17. Nice to know more about you Bjorn...Physics and Poetry..both has P..it's great to meet a physicist cum poet . Best wishes..:-)

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Yes a word come with prejudices .. but for me the combo works

      Delete
  18. Bjorn!! Your passion and brilliance SHINE. So good to know a little more about you, here. Congratulations!
    Sherry, that was a wonderful interview. Thank you so much for sharing :)

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. As I said - reading other poets work is so inspiring..

      Delete
  19. What a joy to learn more about you, Bjorn!! I love your surroundings and your perspective on life and poetry. Thank you so much for sharing with us and thank you Sherry for asking all the right questions...what a personable and gratifying experience this was. :)'s

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Thank you Hannah, Sherri did such a good job... I really enjoyed the result...

      Delete
  20. Hm ... where did my comment go to? It posted. Ah well ... Sherry t interview of a friend and fine poet. Bjorn I thoroughly enjoyed hearing you trekking about here and there. You lea an interesting life. I enjoy your approach to poetry.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Thank you Liz.. I constantly learn from all other talented poets --

      Delete
  21. What a lovely conversation in here this morning. Thanks, kids, for reading. I knew you'd enjoy hearing more about this interesting poet. Had we time and space, I would have liked to hear much more:)

    ReplyDelete
  22. What a great interview Sherry! And Bjorn, it is great to get to learn more about you. I so admire your work

    ReplyDelete
  23. Sherry
    Thank you for the very interesting interview with Bjorn. I've enjoyed his poetry since I encountered his works on prompt sites on the internet...
    Bjorn, it is so nice of you to share so much so we can get to know more about you and your life and family.
    Peace
    Siggi

    ReplyDelete
  24. No interviewer is interested in me.
    Because I'm not a famous poet.
    It will be cool if I would know your opinion about my poems.

    http://keyvan-abdoli.blogspot.com/

    Thank you.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Hi Keyvan, I visited your poem and left a comment. I'm not a famous poet either, but I'm active both in reading and in commenting on other poet's work.. This was part of my advice --- why not try it out :-)

      Delete
  25. Bjorn is a talented poet and writer. I am inspired by his creative work. Thanks so much for sharing his excellence at Poets United.

    ReplyDelete
  26. Wonderful interview! I enjoy Bjorn's poetry and was glad to see he was featured here. Beautiful pictures, too! :)

    ReplyDelete
  27. A treat to read about Bjorn here! :) and quite some bullets there for poets..yup! it does work reading,commenting....in fact it opens quite a view / insight into other thoughts...how they structure, the choice of words.:)

    ReplyDelete
  28. Nice to read more about Bjorn! Sweden is high on my list of countries to see. And physics and poetry are quite a common mix I guess, it really does work. Thank you for sharing.

    ReplyDelete