If I Were a Suicide Bomber


by Per Aage Brandt

September 12, 2017
poetry | pb | 261 pgs
5.5" x 8.5"

“Smart, impish, and spare, Per Aage Brandt finds the physical in the metaphysical, and the fizz in the physiological.”
—Joanna Trzeciak

A cognitive scientist by trade, Per Aage Brandt’s poems resemble little puzzle boxes—all quite short with lines of almost identical length. But within this seemingly rigid structure, he explores a vast range of topics, from death and communication to catastrophes, economics, intimacy, dreams, and cats. At once philosophical and playful, these poems stimulate the mind and are also disarmingly human.

if I were a suicide bomber, by profession,
so to speak, I would choose a deserted
place, climb up on a big boulder, focus
my mind intensely on the world’s most
insane, stupid, malodorous, and in every
respect repulsive ideas, evoke and display
them, scrutinize their features very precisely
before my inner eye and ear, and then,
when all finally was totally clear,
I would activate the detonator in my belt

(goodbye, ideas)

(Read an Excerpt)

Translated from the Danish by Thom Satterlee

About the Author: In addition to his poetry, Per Aage Brandt has published a large number of books on the subjects of semiotics, linguistics, culture, and music. He has also translated Molière and the Marquis de Sade, among others, and has had some of his translations set to music in Frederik Magle’s Cantabile.

About the Translator: Thom Satterlee received his MFA in Literary Translation from the University of Arkansas, and has published two previous collections of Danish poetry in translation. He has received fellowships from the NEA and PEN America, and won the Translation Prize from the American-Scandinavian Foundation.


“Not only do we get Per Aage Brandt's witty, compact, and unerring poems, brisk riff's on experience, consciousness, and the world around us; we also get, across each page, Thom Satterlee's English versions of them, nimbly accomplished, true to the originals, and extremely creative in their own right” 
—David Young