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Book Review

The Roads Have Come to an End Now, by Rolf Jacobsen

Roads Have Come - Cover

Translated from Norwegian into English by Robert Bly, Roger Greenwald & Robert Hedin

                                             -Reviewed by Dr.Claude Shema-Rutagengwa


According to the Stand Magazine, Rolf Jacobsen is – regarded as – one of the greatest twentieth century poets, who may be ranked on a par with Auden, Eliot and Montale. He is also one of the most talented poets of our era.


His book “The Roads Have Come to an End Now” is a compilation of Rolf’s hundreds of thousands of poems composed by himself, including his first book Swarm (Vrimmel-1935) and his last book Night watch (Nattåpent-1985).


The title of this book is from Rolf’s fascinating poem entitled “Road’s End,” where he said:

     “The roads have come to an end now,

      They don’t go any farther, they turn here,

       Over on the earth there.

       You can’t go any farther if you don’t want

       To go to the moon or to planets. Stop now

       In time, and turn to a wasp’s nest or a cow track,

        A volcano opening or clatter of stones in the woods

        It’s all the same. Something else….”


During his lifetime's (1907-1994), Rolf Jacobsen oriented his inspiration toward a diverse variety of issues related to our daily life, and he used some fiction-based poetry as well.


Sometimes he mixed up science and fiction inspiration, like as he did in with his poem “The fly in the telescope”. Then he wrote:

     “It happened that a fly got into the telescope,

      Like a thorn in eternity’s eye…..Something

has happened to universe-…

      One night when Sirius was overhead….

      Until the fly saw fit to retrieve itself

      In the constellation of Swan,….”etc….


Nowadays, it seems that the inspiration became an obstacle for many poets, while in the past our ancestors and parents like Rolf got it likely easily. What we need is simply to use our five natural body senses, so that we can get inspired and become more creative through what we see, the little we hear from whispering, the sweet and bitter taste we put on our tongue, the memorable unforgettable perfume we put use during different events, or the delicious smell of meals that we like more or drinks, and the last but not least one, the sensory system that we consider as the best way of staying in touch with our romantic partners.


The book “The Roads Have Come to an End Now” is a potential source of inspiration for those who are passionate of reading, and aspirants or seniors in poetry. 




© Copper Canyon Press publication



Reviewed by Dr.Claude

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