LB: Do you think poetic images are of another quality than images in film?
ME: There is this very obvious difference that we normally read poems in books and always watch videos or films on some kind of screen. And in our culture the screen has become the all pervasive and restless mediator of information and entertainment – most of which we consume inattentively and forget after a few minutes. I don’t know if we’ve found a way to use the screen or the internet to take things in slowly and chew over them… as we can when we read a poem in a book.
LB: Does Tranströmer know your film? Did he let you know if he likes it?
ME: I was in contact with Monica Tranströmer who was very generous with her time and in arranging contracts and things. They both seemed to like the animation although Tomas Tranströmer wasn’t keen on the translation of the last word ‘djupen’, which we’d translated as ‘abyss’. He thought that ‘the depths’ would have been much more appropriate… and this seems to me very revealing of the attitude to the world that permeates his work. There is very little sense of alienation or existential tragedy that the world ‘abyss’ might suggest and which is not hard to detect in much modern poetry (and in much ancient poetry too). No, for Tranströmer behind and in everything there is a tremendously positive ‘something’, a great ‘yes’ – ‘the depths’. It’s really a shame that it was too late to rerecord the audio track.