Posts Tagged: Æri-Tobbi

Úr órum Tobba (From the Madness of Tobbi) by Eiríkur Örn Norðdahl

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Poem and reading by Eiríkur Örn Norðdahl

This is a sound-poem in homage to a 17th-century Icelandic nonsense poet called Æri-Tobbi, or Crazy Tobbi, whose poetry is discussed at length in a fascinating essay archived at Norðdahl’s blog: “Mind the Sound” (hat-tip: Poetry News).

The categorical difference between sound-poetry and instrumental-music (including sound-poetry’s cousin, scat-singing) is that the listener inevitably interprets what he or she hears as ‘language’ – not only is it the framework that the work is presented within, but it’s also inherent to much of the actual work, that it actually ‘resembles’ language. […]

In early 2008 I wrote the poem ‘Úr órum Tobba’, (trans. From the madness of Tobbi) a six-to-seven minute long sound-poem carved from Æri-Tobbi’s zaum. The poem was first performed at the Scream Poetry Festival in Toronto, at the Lexiconjury Revival Night, and has in fact not been performed since (although published on CD, along with more of my sound-poems).

‘Úr órum Tobba’ is at once a found poem and sound poem, collaged and cut-up lines of zaum taken from the quatrains, tercets and couplets of Æri-Tobbi – the first of the thirteen stanzas is written thus:

Axar sax og lævarar lax
Axar sax og lævarar lax
Hoppara boppara hoppara boppara
stagara jagara stagara jagara
Neglings steglings veglings steglings
Skögula gögula ögula skögula
hræfra flotið humra skotið
Axar sax og lævarar lax

Each stanza has eight lines, and all are intersected with two of Æri-Tobbi’s most famous zaum-lines:

Agara gagara agara gagara
vambara þambara vambara þambara