Alumna and Professor Katrine Øgaard Jensen '17 Publishes 'Outgoing Vessel'

BY Nicole Saldarriaga, March 24, 2021

Alumna and Adjunct Professor Katrine Øgaard Jensen '17 recently published her latest translation of Ursula Andkjær Olsen's poetry, Outgoing Vessel, from the Danish through Action Books. 

 

Outgoing Vessel is a book-length mirror poem which won the Danish Critics Prize for Literature in 2015. It reads as a sequel to Olsen's previous book-length poem, Third Millennium Heart (Broken Dimanche Press/Action Books 2017), also translated from the Danish by Jensen. The poem explores grief, feminist poetics, technoscience, and more in a poetic voice that the Harvard Review has called "sparse, guttural truth...an unsparing, lucid worldview." 

 

Jensen's translation of Third Millennium Heart was met with great praise and was the winner of the American Literary Translators Association's 2018 National Translation Award. Judges Sawako Nakayasu, Kareem James Abu-Zeid, and Jennifer Feeley said of the book, "Danish poet Ursula Andkjær Olsen’s compelling work travels through dark chambers of desire, power, and creation, conjuring up a feminist space where culture and nature wage war with one another, where psychology and anatomy merge to create a uniquely modern mytho-poetics. Katrine Øgaard Jensen’s masterful translation has a strong rhythm all its own, and captures the book’s jarring quality in a remarkably smooth rendering. By the end of this insidious text, the reader is just as “namedrunk” as the book’s enigmatic lyrical subject, and discovers that their own “heartspace,” too, has been torn open, dissected, and beautifully recreated."

 

Read an excerpt from Outgoing Vessel below, courtesy of World Literature Today

 

*

so many dead

their eyeballs are filling this vessel

 

grave

vessel

grave

vessel

 

the earth is a slow fire

 

re: counting the dead:

I have a strategy in place

I HAVE A STRATEGY IN PLACE

 

*

longing moves in all directions

like a spherical light scattered around me

I brush my hair in its circle

 

to be more concise:

human longing scatters like a

BIG BANG around this

 

around the human

out in the wet grass

hair

 

it’s this BIG BANG that must be returned in its original condition, 

an infinitely solid sphere;

must be moulded into a hard, smooth material

and placed in the hole below the heart

 

where it must remain

Katrine Øgaard Jensen (b. 1988) is a poet and translator from the Danish. She is a recipient of several fellowships and awards, including the 2018 National Translation Award in Poetry for her translation of Ursula Andkjær Olsen's book-length poem, Third-Millennium Heart (Broken Dimanche Press/Action Books 2017). She teaches creative writing and literary translation at Columbia University, where she served as Acting Director of LTAC (Literary Translation at Columbia) from 2019-2020, and is currently the LTAC Coordinator.