Morten Langeland

Morten Langeland (b. 1986) lives and works in Oslo. He has studied comparative literature, creative writing at Litterär Gestaltning in Gothenburg and fine arts at Oslo National Academy of Arts. He is a literary critic for the newspaper Klassekampen and an editor at the small press H//O//F. Morten has published four books of poetry since his debut Æ æ å (I am as well) in 2012. His books are marked by a certain playfulness—from writing in his southern dialect in his debut to a collection of broken sonnets in his latest book Zoonetter (Nights at the Zoo). His books also include Bavian (Baboon), Den egentlige kommunen (The Actual Commune) and Svamp (Sponge). Morten teaches poetry at the Writing Academy of Hordaland (Bergen). He won the prestigious prize ‘Stig Sæterbakkens Minnepris’ in 2016. 

Photo: Heidi Furre


Found In Translation »

Join us for the first outing of work created at our Scottish/Norwegian translation showcase

Sat 7 March | 15:30 - 16:30 | £5.50/£4.50 | Byre Theatre, Abbey Street, Studio Theatre


Baneheia, Kristiansand

Pores seep through pores
The hottest summer in mans memory


I want to talk about what is crucial:
The yo-yo of attention
springing out of being fenced in
To walk-the-dog
around the world!
t let this be boring
I will not make any more boring art
The coffee grounds in the flower bed
The chocolate behind the box of odds-and-ends

The yellow cap in a string with no highlighter
After only two months

Pay closer attention:
A newly shod child on the way to the first day of school
Summers grains of sand lying in his shoes
Hands letting go at the gate
Someone saying Mortenfor the first time
in the classroom, they say it like this: with an O
ot an inkling in sound drifts of meaning
Left swiftly behind like animalseyes on the shoulder of the road
Lazy afternoons with dwindling blood sugar
Lying like an exclamation mark on the sofa
The ice-cream vans chimes penetrate endless after-dinner naps
Penetrating the shower of sunlight after the departure of clouds
warming up the mesh in the facial net
Observe dead skin cells in the circle of light
In the smallest thing that the eye observes, the dust
whirls around 67 different organic
materials in evolutions retraining carousel
Stay in the house on a camera obscura
Doze while mum makes pancakes
The stomach packs one-two-three-four- five- six
flat pancakes into a large ball
Afterwards roll like a pancake down the road
Reel past abandoned sandcastles, the jungle
white-painted fences, driveways with new gravel
Water sprinklers releasing the greenness of grass
Stop, chew, swallow
the newly clipped sour leaves of the hedge
Out of the corner of an eye small birds pop into a thorny realm
And mice claws and hedgehogs scrape, scratch
in the dry earth maggots, worms
In the evening on the football pitch Valdo stands
and barks and the kids take turns hushing him
in between stopping to drink at the nearest tap
Behind the bushes Theresa lights t-candles in the dusk
for demigods, fuzzy moon tongues, Cartoon Network ideas
Before she cycles into some kick-outs from the keeper
and lights more candles till one-two-three
of the girls by the fence howl:
Theresa is a pyro-man! Theresa is a pyro-man!
The ball is ditched near the lopsided dead ball line
The whole bunch run around putting out fires
The long trail skirts the street corners
Their soles graze the carwash bubbles running into the drain
See her throwing her bike down and legging it up the forest path
and where the slope starts the trail of kids stretches out
One after the other dropping out when it grows darker
the trail becomes a short stump, shuffling back
Rattling a stick along the railings
Before Theresa too is called, home
Lying down sweaty in bed in time
when it turns dark, the lilacs
spread their scent through the fluttering curtains of night
to the sound of leafy tree crowns whirring
And of adults whose singing spirals in fits and starts
from a barbecue a few gardens away
The moon and streetlamps and curtains
cast shadows across the desk
over a yellowish, dry, porous sponge
Harvested from the Mediterranean Sea
About the size of a skull

About the size of a brain
Soon a sieve in a clenched fist
Much can be said
Without becoming clean
Without being dirty
Throwing in the towel
comes from throwing in the sponge
To give up, be given up


Morten Langeland, tr. Agnes Scott Dunsire Langeland

From Svamp (Flamme forlag, 2019)