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Inside Voices, Outside Light

Inside Voices, Outside Light
Sigurður Pálsson
Arc Publications
English translations
Review Author
Björn Halldórsson

In this selection Sigurður Pálsson’s poetry, translator Martin S. Regal has gathered a cross section of the work of one of Iceland’s foremost modern poets.

Through his guidance and teachings at the University of Iceland’s creative writing department, Sigurður had a huge influence on the current younger generation of Icelandic poets and writers. The poems in this book are presented in a bilingual format, with the Icelandic and English texts on opposing pages – ideal for those wishing for a deep dive into the Icelandic language. Regal has also done a fantastic job of presenting Sigurður’s poetry within a contextual package. He provides a lengthy introduction where he gives the reader an insight into Iceland’s culture and poetic traditions as well as the poet’s life and character, drawing examples from Sigurður’s vast bulk of autobiographical writings – as of yet unavailable in English.

Regal’s curated selection is a chance for the Anglophone reader to experience the development and maturation of a poet whose career spanned much of the modernist era in Icelandic literature; one who was still actively writing and publishing poetry to his dying day, in September of 2017.