The Condition of Secrecy


Words grow out of her like leaves from a tree. They just emerge that way, it’s an organic process. There are so many endless possibilities, starting from somewhere, one could end up anywhere at all.


Words fight each other and refuse to be knocked into shape. They just fail to cooperate, it’s a torturous process. They need to be broken down into smaller and smaller parts, to work out exactly what they are doing. The doing words, in particular.


But when it’s all written, it doesn’t look that way at all. Like a dancer, the writer appears absolutely effortless. But behind the smooth smile, are they lying through their teeth?


It is not easy to write about writing well, in a way that wants to be read. Inger Christensen does just that, and I’m hugely grateful to her translator, Susanna Nied, for turning these selected essays from Danish into English so I can read them. The short pieces in The Condition of Secrecy are as densely concentrated as poems, and as worth rereading.

Translator, editor, writer, reader

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Posted in books, translation, words
2 comments on “The Condition of Secrecy
  1. Thank you for this posting – this book has been on my ‘to buy’ list. Maybe this is the sign for me to go ahead and buy at last.
    I do love and value her work highly.

  2. Would you recommend anything else of hers in particular? I’d also like to read more!

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