In a teenage surrealist period I discovered Gunnar Ekelöf, however I soon realised there was a lot more to him than being a surrealist (if he ever was). His writing is self-evident and clear as water or mathematics. For the centenary of his birth on September 15 there is a very beautiful film made about his poetry which was shown in SVT2. The pictures are suggestive and disturbing, some a bit Lynchish. Also, among others, many of the finest Nordic writers give their reflections on Ekelöf – Tua Forsström, Ib Michael, Jan Erik Vold, Daniel Boyacioglu, Einar Mar Gudmundsson, Katarina Frostenson, Mustafa Can, Pia Tafdrup, and of course Horace Engdahl.
One point made before in a discussion before the actual film was shown, was that Ekelöf today can help us bridge the (perceived) gap between East and West, as this was something he did himself – more as a solution to his own struggles than those of society.
I have earlier used the following lines from Absentia animi (1945) in a context which for me dealt with our relationship to knowledge about what we call “the real world”:
O far far away/in the far remore/there is something nearby
O deep within me/in the nearby/there is something far remote
something beyond-nearby/on this side of the distant
something neither nor/in what is either or:
neither cloud nor image/neither image nor image/neither cloud nor cloud
neither neither nor nor/but something else!