Johannes Göransson on Stina Kajaso and contemporary Swedish poetry

On Harriet:

I love how the girly world of Katy Perry somewhere becomes connected to the deathly ridiculousness of Herzog’s visionary fool. Kajaso’s writing moves through these sudden shifts and outbursts. I love how suddenly she is no longer in the world of Twilight, but on the train from work with blood in her hair: the poem as the violent spasm between the world of Twilight and work. But these two “worlds” are infected by each other: the fake blood from Twilight is in her hair! The fake blood is a moment that feels “authentic” (the job, the train, the hair) but though this line is in the position of an epiphany, it won’t bring Kajaso’s speaker back together again …. Kajaso never becomes whole, but remains sloppy, pathological and kitschy. Sick with the necroglamour of mass culture.

In her performances, Kajaso takes all those troubling, grotesque signifiers that are brought up by Lady Gaga and other pop music performers (and traffickers of spectacular imagery), and amplifies them, distorts them, parasites them. This is not “critique” as is so common in scholarly discourse, but something else. Something more like Ryan Trecartin’s video work. Something that traverses media, that ignores rules of taste, that fan-fictions pop culture—and by “fan fictions” I mean something violent, something more like Manny Farber’s classic “termite art” …

Kajaso’s blog in Swedish is called Sonofdad, and includes some English translations. Göransson is an incredible English-language resource for some of the more exciting developments in Swedish poetry. Highly recommended also are his posts on the blog Montevidayo.