Bjorn3Hey all you Pretzel-and-Bullfighters out there. Today we have a special treat from Sweden- Bjorn Rudbergs. Can you believe he speaks Swedish, yet writes such beautiful poetry in English? Let’s start with two poems never shared before at dVerse; a haiku which Bjorn says, “builds on an autumn kigo of dragonfly” and a triolet he wrote at summer solstice.

illusions –
like dewdrops captured
on wings of dragonfly


at summer solstice dance with me
like children of the sun, my dear
put flowers in your hair & see
at summer solstice dance with me
forget the dark part of the year
& nevermore in darkness fear
at summer solstice dance with me
like children of the sun, my dear!


Do you find it difficult to write poetry in English, because you do it so well, I thought it had to be your primary language?

To some extent I find it easier (I have only tried writing a few poems in Swedish)… there are some natural inhibitions I seem to have to be poetic in my mother tongue. At my workplace we mostly speak English and everything I write is in English. But there are moments when I lack the proper tools to express myself.

Tell us a little about yourself.

I graduated in Physics and also took a PhD. After that, I left academics and started working with more applied research, and later also into business. For a physicist that is the same as going to the dark side.

How long have you been writing poetry?

I have never been really interested in poetry until a few years ago when I started with Twitter. I wrote a few haiku (well some tweets inspired in 575 syllable in reality). I quickly got into several word-of-the-day games, and sometimes I responded with poetry.

The poetry I have read was then limited to what I read in school which was mostly Swedish poets such as Hjalmar Gullberg, Karin Boye and Harry Martinsson. To be honest I didn’t really understand what poetry was all about.

As I started to write metered poetry on Twitter, quatrains in tetrameter fits quite well in a tweet as a matter of fact.

In one of the word games, there was a challenge to write a sonnet on biffy (meaning outhouse) and I accepted this and sat a whole Friday night writing my first sonnet (http://brudberg.wordpress.com/2012/04/30/hello-world/).

At about the same time, I was invited to write collaborative poetry with some friends in Twitter. This got me started in starting a blog.

Gradually I started to use different prompts to get inspiration. I saw dVerse quite early, but it took me a while until I dared to knock at the door at the bar. But all in all I’m to a large extent a poetry novice.

Do you have a favorite kind of poetry?

I’m quite sensitive to the rhythm of verse. I usually strive for a simple beat, and even when I write free-verse I usually end up writing it quite metered. I love to find inspiration in forms and actually think it gives me the freedom I need to write most often.

You are very good at form poetry. Maybe that’s your analytic side coming out. When I first started writing I stuck to form and rhyme because I felt like it gave me some parameters, and that was comforting. I do find free verse more challenging. Some poets think opposite.

Yes I find forms easier to do. When I write free, I still have to create a form in my head to get the rhythm. Also the rhymes sometimes help me drive a story forward.

Here’s one of Bjorn’s villanelles I chose to share. He told me it was one of the first villanelles he’s written. I think he’s a natural. Don’t you agree?

Before the Tears
by Bjorn Rudbergs

once I lived without my tears
a joyous life I shared with you
it was before the bad affairs

around the world among the pairs
we were exclusive happy few
once I lived without my tears

we planned a life of many years
and were delighted to be two
it was before the bad affairs

it started when we bought some shares
at first we cheered as values grew
once I lived without my tears

we had success in our careers
and never knew the bank was due
it was before the bad affairs

I never had financial fears
before you left without adieu
once I lived without my tears
it was before the bad affairs

February 27, 2013


Bjorn2Do you find yourself using recurring themes in your writing?

Sometimes in my poetry I think it’s quite obvious that I love to spend my vacations outdoors, often in the north of Sweden where we have mountains. These areas are situated north of the Arctic Circle, which means a lot of daylight and wilderness without any type of coverage. My wife and I share the same interest and we always do these hikes (with or without skis) together. We have no kids and live in a house right outside Stockholm.

How much time do you spend on poetry?

Currently I spend about 2-3 hours per day. Reading and commenting take the most time. I would like to have some time to read published poetry too, but currently I think I learn a lot when communicating directly with the poets.

What is your favorite aspect of community sharing such as on Twitter and at dVerse?

When I started doing Twitter it was interesting to see how well you connected with people just through those short messages. These are people who have become friends, and even though I have never met them, it’s people that you learn to trust. I have only met a few face to face, but it’s amazing how well you can actually feel trust for someone who you have only met online. I think the best word I can describe it with is closeness.

Do you have any long-term goals, such as publishing a chapbook?

I had never thought about a goal with my poetry until recently. To some extent I think that is what I like the best with writing online is to have no goal. Our world today is filled with goals, and to publish anything would to some extent remove some of the closeness I feel with readers when I write a blog. I have actually started thinking about it, but then I’m caught up in all these complicated rules. It’s not easy if you want to publish in English writing in Swedish. Publishing seems to be one of the areas where we have no globalization at all. As a matter of fact I can’t even buy most of the eBooks that my fellow writers have published.

Bjorn1What else interests you (besides poetry and hiking)?

My work takes up a lot of the time besides poetry. But my wife and I share a keen interest in music. We have season tickets to the Stockholm Symphony Orchestra, and also try to go to festivals and concerts at regular intervals. Actually I think my music interest might have pulled me into poetry. I also have a general interest in photography, and should probably use my photos more in my blog.

Poetry, music, photography… I’m right there with you. I hope you decide to share some of your photos on your blog. I’m looking forward to what’s next for you, Bjorn! Thanks so much for spending time with us today.

Follow Bjorn on Twitter here.
Visit his blog here.

If you have questions for Bjorn, please leave them in the comments below. Until next time, happy poeming!