When young, one is fearful of being influenced by other writers. With maturity
that fear dissipates and one detects the sound of foreign voices on one’s home
ground and is often delighted to be helped with a few thrusts of the spade. It is
more important that the earth be properly cultivated than that every potato be
planted with a jerk of the arm uniquely one’s own.
From The Forest of Childhood: Poems from Sweden,
Edited and Translated by William Jay Smith and Leif Sjöberg
It’s curious to me that information in English about both Kjell Hjern and Leif Sjöberg is almost nonexistent. Hjern’s ghostly existence in English is understandable (no one has followed up William Jay Smith’s hint), but Sjöberg had a hand in so many translations of Swedish writers over the years—most famously Dag Hammarskjöld’s Markings and (with May Swenson) one of the earliest selections in English of Tomas Tranströmer’s poetry (Windows and Stones, 1972 … two years after Robert Bly’s versions in Twenty Poems)—that his biographical absence is very strange. Anyone out there have more information?