Karl-Erik Tallmo

Poems in Swedish and English with Artwork

Poems in translation

Strndbrg II

Afton maj.
Hade ännu icke voro
hade just vind ännu
sina stam ännu gått bort
både djur hus;
från unga träd åren sågo fram
Ett fjor och ett kiv.

Strndbrg II

Evening May.
Had yet not were
had just wind yet
their trunk yet had away
both animal house;
from young tree year seeing through.
Last year and a miff.

Sill sill

Väl. Salt. Skär över. Lägg fat. Väl. Salt väl.
Salt väl. Skär över salt väl. Lägg fat.
Skär över salt. Lägg lägg häll lägg häll
skål lägg. Lägg fat. Skär över kokt. Lägg fat.
Skär över. Lägg fat. Kokt. Lägg lägg
häll lägg häll skål lägg kokt kokt. Lägg
lägg häll lägg häll skål lägg kokt.

Herring herring

Well. Salt. Cut over. Lay saucer. Well. Salt well.
Salt well. Cut over salt well. Lay saucer.
Cut over salt. Lay lay pour lay pour
bowl lay. Lay saucer. Cut over boiled. Lay saucer.
Cut over. Lay saucer. Boiled. Lay lay
pour lay pour bowl lay boiled boiled. Lay
lay pour lay pour bowl lay boiled.


Buffy in the snow, 2004

Visst Väsen

lite väsen för någonting
inget väsen för allting
visst väsen för ingenting
mycket väsen för någonting
lite väsen för allting
inget väsen för ingenting
visst väsen för någonting
mycket väsen för allting
lite väsen för ingenting
inget väsen för någonting
visst väsen för allting
mycket väsen för ingenting

Some Ado

little ado about nothing
no ado about everything
much ado about anything
some ado about something
no ado about anything
little ado about something
much ado about everything
some ado about nothing
little ado about anything
some ado about everything
no ado about nothing
little ado about everything
much ado about something
some ado about anything
no ado about something
much ado about nothing


My pal, 2003

Poems in English

Too Strong a Knowledge

not that I had a revelation
like some fucking luny
I just know
I have come to know it all
the futility
the evil
the wickedness
the ways of this world
the hopelessness
I admit
the beauty of the cowslips on my lawn
but still
the ugliness
the deceit the murders the torture
the arrogance the corruption
I discovered it
not one night
but during ten thousand nights
and days
enter this world
just to suffer through it till the end
try to improve it
charity? politics?
surely not science?
OK we're good
we're really good
and some people get a decent meal
some get healed
some get their remedies
for some it even works
while their rulers
slowly descend into their
hot tubs
once again opening their golden faucets
once again trying to
put everyone out of their misery
and into it
at the same time
first things first
now I know it
I have come to know it all
the futility
the evil
the wickedness
the ways of this world
the hopelessness
and the worst thing is
maybe not the worst thing
but still
pretty damn bad
is that I must keep it all
to myself
maybe everyone knows it
maybe they all figured it out
by themselves
at one time or another
even before I did
and maybe they're as good
at silence as I am
but still
I must keep it to myself
I wouldn't like to crack up a party
I wouldn't like to say it out loud
to tell my mother
my friends
my neighbours
I couldn't bear to be the guilty one
of bringing on the dire message
I know it would cause
even more harm
me telling it all
wouldn't it drown cities?
wouldn't it bury villages?
wouldn't it crash planes?
wouldn't it flood rivers?
and melt the Antarctic?
I think it would silence the birds
it would scare cats
it would keep moles digging
deeper and deeper
and flood rivers
and drown cities
it would quake the earth
and kill neighbours
and flood moles and men

Soil This Word

soil this word from
that this with life
life land life term
used data game main
such have than live
37th rate live line

have rate that well
life also this link
more like east west
east west east what
lost used with -

code life thus page
gods with life game
that when most ring
star star ring tree
laid star ring list

each line from root
used word too  late
must stay able more
been body that pure
hold into with that
both word with that
said such with that
that only with that


Three-eyed dog, 2004

Karl-Erik Tallmo, born 1953, is a Swedish writer, poet, artist, and publisher of the cultural web magazine The Art Bin (www.art-bin.com). He started writing concrete poetry in the 60s while still in high school. His debut as an artist took place at an exhibition in Karlskoga, Sweden, in 1970, with, among other pieces, a poem in the form of nine glass jars. In the 70s, influenced by musical minimalists such as Terry Riley and Steve Reich, he started to write text permutations and texts that gradually change through repetitive patterns etc. Tallmo has written six books, including Sweden's first hypertext novel (1992). The most recent work is the artist's book "Visual Iris Open" (see www.nisus.se/tallmo/visual). He has participated as an expert in governmental investigations on new media, and has also been a member of advisory boards, such as at the Royal Library and at the Swedish Research Council.

Website: www.nisus.se/tallmo