(Iceland, 1964)   
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Sigurlaug Didda Jónsdóttir was born Selfoss, in south-west Iceland, but grew up in Reykjavík. In her teens and early twenties she led a turbulent life. She began writing poems, many of which appeared in newspapers and magazines before she published her first collection. She also wrote lyrics for local rock bands.

Her poems are free in form, some are prose poems. Their content is autobiographical, a search for identity; the prose poems are often based on passages from her diaries. They are all about life as Didda got to know it after she was kicked out of her parents' house at age fifteen. In that life, sex, alcohol and drugs played a dominant role. To Didda they represent no more than the ordinary scheme of things, and her poems only reflect the world as she and many of her contemporaries have come to know it.
Some of her texts describe horrifying experiences in a cool and terse manner, sometimes even with humor. Her style and vocabulary have the appearance of being commonplace, but on closer scrutiny reveal a careful arrangement of facts and observations. Feeling often seems to have been deliberately banned, but never fails to penetrate the carefully constructed façade.
As Didda still feels herself lacking in formal skills, she trains herself in poetry translation, among other things by translating her own poems into English.

© Paula Vermeijden , Poetry International Festival

In 1999 Didda was a guest at the Poetry International festival in Rotterdam. In the righthand column you can listen to recordings of his poetry made on this occasion.


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