Excerpt

Ædnan

Linnea Axelsson (trans. Saskia Vogel)

January 16, 2024 
The following is from Linnea Axelsson's Ædnan. Axelsson is a Sámi-Swedish writer, born in the province of North Bothnia in Sweden. In 2009, she earned a Ph.D, in art history from Umeå University. In 2018, she was awarded the August Prize for this book. She lives in Stockholm, Sweden.

In Northern Sámi, the word Ædnan means the land, the earth, and my mother. It sounds similar to the word ædno, “the river,” and ædni, “the mother.” In today’s orthography these words are written as eana(n), eatnu, and eadni. Etymologically they seem to come from the same root word, which roughly means “great.”

Article continues below

*

Night camp at Lake Gobmejávri, near to where Sweden, Finland, and Norway meet. Early spring 1913
(ber-joná)

The voice

the cup that memory
fills
I drink your hair
and soar

Article continues below

Through the fells
that birthed us and
twine us together

your body and mine

Fingers search
and the heart

Article continues below

howls

Here
where I wander

A rangeland runs
from the forest snow
to the windswept shore

Article continues below

There my herd scrapes
and leads us
land to land

prying me from
your arms

Alone
among the lichen

Article continues below

__________________________________

Excerpted from Ædnan by Linnea Axelsson. Copyright © 2024 by Linnea Axelsson. Excerpted by permission of Alfred A. Knopf, a division of Penguin Random House LLC. All rights reserved. No part of this excerpt may be reproduced or reprinted without permission in writing from the publisher.




More Story
A Path Older Than Memory Emergence Magazine is an online publication with annual print edition exploring the threads connecting ecology, culture,...

Become a Lit Hub Supporting Member: Because Books Matter

For the past decade, Literary Hub has brought you the best of the book world for free—no paywall. But our future relies on you. In return for a donation, you’ll get an ad-free reading experience, exclusive editors’ picks, book giveaways, and our coveted Joan Didion Lit Hub tote bag. Most importantly, you’ll keep independent book coverage alive and thriving on the internet.

x