Essays

Please scroll down for links to several of my essays in English and Icelandic.
Please direct all inquiries to sarah@sarahbrownsberger.com.

Poetry, Hunger, and Electric Lights:
Lessons from Iceland on Poetry and Its Audience

Abstract:

Our dominant model for the creation and enjoyment of the arts remains centralized production, as the mission statements of cultural organizations show: specialized labourers create a product which then must be distributed or with which the public must be ‘engaged’. During Iceland’s abrupt modernization (1940-1980) its strong tradition of lyric poetry was cut away from a fabric of popular oral-poetic traditions and retailored as a product offered for purchase in slim volumes. In Icelandic-language interviews conducted in 1981, Icelanders who were old enough to be able to compare the experience of poetry as a communal entertainment with the experience of reading poetry books were invited to do so and to comment on new verse forms. The attitudes that emerge from this material suggest the need for a new approach to the effort to nurture poetic achievement and the public enjoyment of poetry.

Click for the full text of Poetry, Hunger, and Electric Lights:

Poetry Hunger and Electric Lights PDF

(From the The Cambridge Quarterly, September 2015)

SUBARCTIC FRUIT

On berry-picking, environmental fertility, and our sense of well-being.
Published in Silk Road Review, No. 13, Spring 2015
Revised version: http://www.highonadventure.com/hoa17mar/sarah/subarctic-fruit1.htm

ICELANDIC-LANGUAGE ESSAYS

Af grimmd og hnattvæðingu (“On Ferocity and Globalization”)
A review of Akbar Ahmed’s The Thistle and the Drone: How America’s War on Terror Became a Global War on Islam.
12 January 2015, Morgunblaðið
https://www.mbl.is/greinasafn/grein/1538190/

Vinna sem skiptir máli (“Work That Matters”)
On family life and working conditions.
4 December 2006, Morgunblaðið
https://www.mbl.is/greinasafn/grein/1117666/

Grafskrift hins gleymda ritstjóra (“Epitaph for the Forgotten Editor”)
On Harvard’s magnificent and motley Icelandic collection.
27 June1999, Morgunblaðið
https://www.mbl.is/greinasafn/grein/476767/