Henrika Ringbom (1962) is a Finland-Swedish writer living in Helsinki, but she spends the summer months on Korpo, an island in the archipelago of Turku. She considers herself a poet but has also published two novels, essays and criticism. Her mother tongue, and the language she writes in, is Swedish but as a member of the Swedish-speaking minority (6 % of Finland’s population) she is bilingual and also active as a translator, especially of Finnish contemporary poetry. Her first book of poems, Båge (The Bow) was published in 1988 and since then she has published five more collections of poetry. As a young poet she was primarily occupied with the auditory nature of language, rhythm and sound, but with time imagery has gained room in her poems. In the autumn of 2013 her latest collection of poems, Öar i ett hav som strömmar (Islands in a Flowing Sea), was published. Its main themes are the passing and nature of time and the joy of being alive and experiencing the world through your senses. Her lifelong fascination with Japanese culture and literature can also be seen in the book. Her poetry has been translated into Finnish, English, Spanish, Russian, Hungarian, Turkish and Persian.
She flies that evening. The journey of her life. In the air, a mild, fleeting scent. Around her swarm female fig wasps; they fly like her, allowing themselves, like her, to be led by the barely perceptible thinness. They are eaten by birds, ants, beetles, lizards; get stuck in spiders’ webs, encased in silken threads; become living provisions. If she makes it, if she gets there, finds her way, she will squeeze in. In the garden, swaying clusters of tender unseen blossoms heavy with sweet nectar. Perhaps this one is close by. Or else she will be carried on the wind over Africa’s sweat-red savannah and green-edged riverbeds towards the highlands looming blue in the honey night
From the suite “A Fig Wasp’s Life” in Islands in a Flowing Sea, translation Ruth Urbom
Presentation of “Islands in a Flowing Sea” and some poems from it in English in Books from Finland:
Presentation of earlier production and poems in English translation on the website Electric Verses: