by Magnús Sigurðsson
translated from the Icelandic by Meg Matich
Magnús Sigurdsson spare poems pay rare attention to the minute revelations of nature rather than allowing the crudeness of machinery to bulldoze our sentiments. Through intricate wordplay and a titanic understanding of his native Icelandic, rendered with perfect tone by award-winning translator Meg Matich, Sigurdsson creates tiny but arresting artifacts—fragments that scale an instant to an aeon, and a thousand millennia to a second. Whether describing the dwarf wasp's one-millimeter wingspan or the roots of a bonsai, he is a cosmologist of language, and Cold Moons is an intimate map of his distinctive universe.
Magnús Sigurdsson (b. 1984) is an Icelandic poet and translator. His debut was a translation of Ezra Pound's The Pisan Cantos into Icelandic, published by the University of Iceland Press (2007). The translation was awarded the Student Service Scholarship and the Landsbanki Bank Stipend. Sigurðsson's first book of poems, Fiðrildi, mynta og spörfuglar Lesbíu (2008), received the Tómas Guðmundsson Poetry Prize. In 2013, Sigurðsson received the prestigious Jón úr Vör Poetry Prize for the poem, "Tunglsljós," which later appeared in Sigurðsson's third book, Tími kaldra mana (2013). Sigurðsson's translations include a collection of poems by the Norwegian Tor Ulven, Steingerð vængjapör (2012), and a Spanish translation from the Icelandic, together with Laía Argüelles Folch, of Ingibjörg Haraldsdóttir's seminal book of poems, La cabeza de la mujer (2011). Forthcoming is Sigurðsson's selection of poems by Adelaide Crapsey, the unheralded pioneer of modern verse in America. Most recently, Sigurðsson released a fourth book of poems, Krummafótur. He lives in Reykjavík, Iceland.
Meg Matich is a poet and translator, and a recent recipient of the PEN/Heim Translation grant. Her translations have appeared in Exchanges, Words Without Borders, Absinthe, and other journals. She was a finalist for the 2015 ALTA fellowship and has received grants and fellowships from Columbia University, the DAAD, and the Banff Centre. She has participated in Festival Neue Literatur, presented work on Icelandic at Barnard's Translation in Transition conference, assisted with Columbia University's Word for Word program, and worked in workshops at the Goethe-Institut/German Book Office. While in residence at the Banff International Literary Translation Centre in 2014, Matich translated the work of Icelandic poet Magnús Sigurðsson. She lives in Brooklyn, NY.
Cover art by Jaya Nicely