Poems by Nancy Jasper
honoring the Icelandic Sagas
Egil is Baffled by Grief
“The Poet,” Jasper reminds us, “is formed from spittle, the honey mixed with blood.”
Nancy Marie Brown
Who is Egil?
He is Egil Skallagrimsson, a tenth century Viking warrior and poet. The hero or anti-hero of his own saga. He continues to invite stories, because he just won’t settle down. Often repugnant, he is also the author of a searching, fiercely introspective lament that speaks from the deepest heart of his age.
The collection also features a sequence of poems for Snorri Sturluson, one of Egil’s descendents. It is through Snorri, mainly, that the stories of the earlier Norse mythology have come down to us. But this brilliant and subtle writer was also a politician. He had enemies…
These are new poems for old stories, from a story-telling era that continues to move and surprise us.
In the tradition of Jorge Luis Borges, W.H. Auden, and J.R.R. Tolkien, Nancy Jasper finds poetic inspiration in the medieval Icelandic sagas. Her terse and direct word pictures open doors and windows into the world of these violent, complex tales. We sit like the shapeshifting swallow, listening, and are changed. We wander, like the bear, out of a fairy tale and into the mind—cunning, lucid, and fearful—of a mythmaker. Like the trickster, we are tricked into seeing the sagas anew. “The poet,” Jasper reminds us, “is formed from spittle, the honey mixed with blood.”
Nancy Marie Brown, Author of Song of the Vikings: Snorri and the Making of Norse Myths
Nancy Jasper is a Pushcart Prize nominee. She writes with playfulness and intensity, with unexpected imagery and sly verbal textures. She takes these stories at odd angles, finding her way toward their complicated heart.
Nancy’s work has appeared in micro-chapbooks, academic journals, an anthology of urban poetry, and a publication of the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service. Her poems and essays have been heard on the Rhode Island affiliate of National Public Radio.
Nancy Jasper is a clinical social worker. She considers herself part of the great English Major diaspora. She has published five micro-chapbooks with the Origami Poems Project.
In 2015, the OPP nominated her for a Pushcart Prize. Her poems have also appeared in Leviathan, Gávea-Brown, The Wrack Line, and the anthology, Missing Providence.
Nancy’s poems and essays have been heard on WRNI, the Rhode Island affiliate of National Public Radio, as part of their This I Believe series.
Nancy has been a featured reader at a range of venues. She loves sharing her Icelandic poems with new audiences.