Between Us

Collection of poetry, published September 1981. Nominated for Nordic Council Literature Prize, 1981, the most prestigious literary award in Scandinavia.

… I have come to open this door and yet another
I have come to stay. Write that down!
The room is to share, the space is as large as you want.
I will open the door and wander on. …
… Grandpa among his roses
peculiarly lost in all this abundance.
It is difficult to get used to velvet skin
when you have spent your life on firm values.
The bees are humming a forgotten melody
of atomized pearls, blood and lives. …
… I am your poem.
Of the same fabric
that circus tents are made of.
I will be absorbed and end up as a patch
at the end of the tent pole. …
Between Us, p. 18
… A tawny John with bone dry palms
seized my life. Don’t think twice, it’s all-right.
The grocer in the square
knew all of Otto Leisner’s jokes by heart
and the tailor received The Tibetan Book of the Dead
as partial payment
for Anni’s harem pants.
Your cousin started meditating with Anni
Until you were soaked in sweat
and learned all of Coleman’s solos by heart
note by note, night after night.
John was drafted to the filthiest war in the world
And came home with four expensive sugar lumps
And Buffy Sainte-Marie’s Red Power.
Often we were happy together. Often we were together
Together. Mornings with arguments
And silent reconciliation.
The cousin shoved love letters in beneath the door
Until you laid covered in lava.
Regrets and death wishes sailing across the ceiling
in psychedelic patterns. The morning Anni and the cousin
went off to India
you got a third eye in your forehead. …
Between Us, p. 24

The press wrote …

F.P Jac, BT, September 11th 1981:

After a few overrated books (your critic finds), Bente Clod has published an outstanding collection of poetry today. From a state of chronicler to a blast of a poet …
With the two final lines of the book the balance is made out: I’ll write as soon as I know/where I have gone. And actually that is what has shaped a collection of poetry. Thank you.

Jens Hennebjerg, Aalborg Stiftstidende:

Great Bente Clod with salt in her hair.

Finn Stein Larsen in Weekendavisen, October 30th 1981:

… No whining, but a visionary depiction carried by trust in and knowledge of the indomitable resources of women’s emotions and imagination. The collection is so good because its starting point, individual and universal at the same time, shows a volume of problems, in which vulnerability, anxiety, despair and failure are admitted and yet don’t strangle the ability to fly or to sing. There is human and artistic courage in Clods book. She is a sage with due respect …

Poul Borum in Ekstra Bladet, September 11th 1981:

Already Bente Clod’s novel Seven Minds from last year was a surprise: it proved that she is not only a debater but also a poet. And the poetry collection Between Us is even better, a mature and sovereign book, witty and humorous and exuberant, a book full of new thoughts and experiences, with such a pressure that the language cannot always keep up. But at least ten of the twenty-five poems are brilliant.

Erik Skyum-Nielsen in Bogens Verden (The Book World) no. 4, 1984, about the poet of the month, Bente Clod:

… With Between Us the author takes a leap into deep water in a personal as well as a literary manner. The reportage-like form, in which the poem borders on personal diary and letters, is replaced by – poetry with a core of perception, emotion and figurative language in fusion …
The poems are not kept in an abstract, impersonal vacuum, nor in linguistic self-reflection, they constantly have an element of addressing, a will to reach other people.

The actress Lene Vasegaard in Lyrikbogklubbens medlemsblad (Borgen-Gyldendal’s poetry book club), February 1983:

When Bente Clod sent me her poetry collection Between Us and I had read it/eaten it, I told her: Careful now, you are going to be famous. Those are big words early on, but they (the poems) are difficult to compare to anything previously written in Danish.

In connection with the nomination of Between Us for the Nordic Council Literature Prize, critic and author Mette Winge wrote about the two Danish nominees (Henrik Stangerup and Bente Clod) in a column in Berlingske Tidende that this was outrageous; Denmark had hit the bottom […] Publisher Merete Ries on the other hand requested Bente Clod to translate Emily Dickinson. See the book On My Volcano.