Queen’s Gate is the woman’s way into the world. The gate signals transformation. What does one go into? And what is left behind?
'From water you have come,' writes Pia Tafdrup, creating her own myth through a sequence of highly sensual poems centred on water in all its forms: the waterdrop, the lake, the river, the well, the sea, vital liquids, the bath, the rain, the rainbow. Water streams through poems in which images are bodied from woman to nature: meltwater rivers 'run smooth as the muscle ﬁbre of veins’ while a woodsnipe pecks its beak into sand ‘as quickly as a sewing machine’s needle plunges into the dress'.
Queen’s Gate is a composite picture of the basic elements of the life-cycle of nature and man, mirrored through a conceptual world that takes the body as its axis, in poetic language of great visual and emotional power. The poems are written from a female point of view, but reﬂect the whole story of human life and suffering.
Queen’s Gate – her ninth collection – is a conﬂuence of themes and threads running through all Pia Tafdrup’s previous work. It is a many-voiced and multi-layered book drawing on the same fertile sources as her earlier manifesto, Walking Over Water, but brought here to an inspirational highwater mark of poetic achievement.
Pia Tafdrup reads six poems in English and Danish
Pia Tafdrup reads six poems, in English and Danish, or in Danish with English subtitles: ‘My Mother’s Hand’ (‘Min mors hand’) and ‘Whistling’ (‘Sus’) from Queen’s Gate; ‘Kernel’ (‘Kerne’) and ‘We Are Not Creatures of a Single Day’ (‘Vi er ikke endagsdyr’) from The Whales in Paris, published in Tarkovsky’s Horses and other poems; and ‘At Least One Wound’ (‘Mindst ét sår’) and ‘Goodnight’ (‘Godnat’) from Tarkovsky’s Horses. When Pamela Robertson-Pearce filmed Pia Tafdrup during her visit to Ledbury Poetry Festival in July 2008, only the first two parts of her quartet had been published in Danish, and David McDuff’s translations of those were still in manuscript. In the film she talks about their translation process. This film is from the DVD-anthology In Person: World Poets, filmed & edited by Pamela Robertson-Pearce and Neil Astley (2017).