Butterfly Valley: Translating Inger Christensen

by Bruno Berni

Translating Inger Christensen (1935-2009) is a special experience because of the structure of her works, which are always based on one or more – often extralinguistic – systems that make her poetry difficult to translate. In her last masterpiece, Butterfly Valley (1991), the Danish poet tied her composition to one of the most complex and fascinating poetic systems: the crown of sonnets. The Italian translation is the first to have respected this system thoroughly.