The Prairie Fire Reviews Two Thugs

Gillian Harding-Russell on Copenhagen by Katrine Marie Guldager

Copenhagen, by Katrine Marie Guldager, translated from the Danish by P.K. Brask, consists of an interconnecting mesh of stories set in the “Copenhagen” of the title, which may or may not resemble the actual city, though a map of Copenhagen provides the cover design for the book. The focus is at once precise and scattered, select details suggesting the arbitrary nature of symbols in a chaotic world in which one thing can easily mean something else: a boy who is feeling unwell in a train station loses a tooth after falling down the stairs (“Norreport,” 14) and later finds it again in another story (“Stengrade,” 52), two women in the train station both wear red scarves, making them appear congenial, then turn out to be one woman smiling at herself in a mirror. Two dissatisfied characters from unrelated stories listen to angry Rolling Stones music.

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John Herbert Cunningham on 22 Skidoo/Subtractions by Michael Boughn

Although it is not always the final words of one poem and the opening of the next that provide the link–in fact, adjacent poems may not be linked at all–there will always be a repetition of some part of one in the other, reminding one of constrained writing techniques such as ‘pataphysics and Oulipo.

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