Jørgen Leth is one of Denmark’s foremost modern poets and a leading international filmmaker. As a poet, he consistently employs unostentatious, matter-of-fact language and exhibits strong filmic qualities, often in the form of notes and stage directions. Poems and films: two sides of his extensive ouevre, intricately interwoven. Watch the poem. Read the film. Leth was doing intertextuality almost before they called it anything. Trivial Everyday Things is a collection of Leth’s poems spanning some forty years, selected and translated with exquisite restraint by Martin Aitken. It is, astonishingly, the first book-length collection of Leth’s poetry to appear in English.
“One’s eye changes things. One’s eye makes things come alive.” Experience the much-admired Danish poet, writer and film director Jørgen Leth in this video where he reads one of his unique poems and compares writing poetry to performing alchemy.
Watch the Book Launch and Reading:
Jørgen Leth (born 1937) is primarily know for films like The Perfect Human, playfully revived by Leth and enfant terrible countryman Lars von Trier in the irresistible The Five Obstructions. Leth’s latest (of forty-three), Erotic Man, recently premiered to rave reviews and walk-outs at the Toronto Film Festival. A long-time resident of Haiti, Leth now lives in The Dominican Republic.
Martin Aitken (born 1961) lives and works in rural Denmark. A PhD in linguistics, he gave up university tenure to translate literature and listen to The Fall. His translations from Danish have appeared in book form, as well as in countless literary journals, including AGNI, A Public Space, and The Literary Review.