Brita Bergland: The Rebirth of the Older Child


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Brita Bergland’s poems fuse a sophisticated, Wittgensteinian sense of language with a predilection for the ‘rural voice,’ the ‘whacky grandeur’ of everyday life on a farm. The poems celebrate language as resurrection in the hands of the politically forgotten and emotionally uncalled for, all seen through the metaphor of the haystack. The results are provocative, sometimes very funny and certainly all her own.

Bergland was born on a farm in Urbana, IL, in 1954, and has spent most of her adult life in the country. While at the U of Michigan, she received a Hopwood Award for poetry. She lives in Vermont with her daughter. Her first volume of poetry, The Poet at Its Desk, was published by Awede in 1986.

“…achieves an affect of inner mind, of tentative relationships to the world, life and others. She paints a New England landscape, like an impressionist painting gone expressionist…Bergland rescues us from threatened entropy…”

–Eva Shaderowfsky, House Organ

“In Rebirth of the Older Child, the poet sniffs out an examined life’s peculiar pleasures… Weirdly revealing lines like ‘His mother was an O’ and ‘Darkened DNA polishes my lips’ seem fresh, exact. Bergland’s poems reveal a carnal nature nurtured in the out-of-doors. Simple-and exciting.”

–Chris Potash, Small Press

“What I like most about these poems, set mostly in the country, is the playing around with languages…. The effect of such writing is the music– the spiel, and cut and sway of the words, a funny and grotesque way…. Isn’t the title calling for a revision of our attitudes, from inside out, the way Thoreau called for a purification of the self and a rebirth? … The natural flow is inviting, sensual, beautiful and awkward in the musicales of current containing the history of a native people.”

–Shelby Stephenson, The Pilot-Southern Pines