As well as being a poet, Morten Søndergaard is a sound artist who in recent years has studied the relation between language and sound. His polyphonic attitude towards reality has meant that he has never been afraid to try things out, like a productive child at play. He has consciously spread himself over several areas, e.g. he has been the initiator of projects and journals, of which he has also been the editor, and he was the co-creator of a new type of subjective lexicon, Brøndums Encyklopedi, in 1994. Morten Søndergaard has also translated several works by the Argentine author Jorge Luis Borges, who is one of the writers he takes as a model.
Morten Søndergaard made his debut in 1992 with Sahara i mine hænder (Sahara In My Hands), which was followed by the verse collection Ild og tal (Fire and Number). Then he turned to a form of poetic short story in the book Ubestemmelsessteder (Indeterminate Places, 1996), but only to return to lyrical poetry again in Bier dør sovende (Bees Die Sleeping, 1998), which was Søndergaard’s breakthrough to a wider public. Bier dør sovende is also his most important work.
Søndergaard lets the world intrude and enrich the imagination, so that new, surreal and hyper-real images emerge – with a different outlook on the world as a result. Not quite without humour:
I say it again, there is nothing to be done about it,
it is a way of going on,
a way of finding one’s footing,
a complicated dance inside the beehive,
the anthill’s rustling warm brain in a coniferous forest,
the force of gravity lies awake, it can’t sleep,
but a cautious knowledge hums in the fingertips,
the sense of having everything within one’s grasp,/…
All of his publications bear witness to an unusual receptivity to sense impressions, which is due to his perception that we stand in a much closer relation to things than we are aware of.
It is curiosity and wonder that keeps Morten Søndergaard’s poems, thoughts and projects in motion. The curiosity is directed at objects and phenomena in the concrete world. The wonder stems from asking about why we exist as we do, why we exist at all, and how we are able to reconcile ourselves with existence. To this must be added the clear theoretical and scientific interest that is also a hallmark of Søndergaard’s poems. In other words: a quest for order, reason and rationality – born of a love of systems and the beauty and paradoxes of mathematics.
Sahare I mine hænder (1992)
Ild og tal (1994)
Bier dør sovende (1998)
Tingenes orden (2000)
Kompas (CD, 2000)
Vinci, senere (2002)
At holde havet tilbage med en kost (2004)
Et skridt i den rigtige retning (2005)
[Morten Søndergaard took part in the Poetry International Festival Rotterdam 2007. This text was written on that occasion.]