Sociable ||| Alaska Quarterly Review

Translated from Norwegian by Robert Hedin and Dag T. Straumsvåg

He got this disease, a small disease, but it was all he had. His parents were dead, his friends gone. At first he was reserved. Then he noticed the disease had social skills that he lacked himself. People opened up when they arrived, talked more. He cared for the disease with a loving hand, carried it with him wherever he went. He watched it grow into a strain no one had ever seen before, and he blossomed in the attention they got. Then the disease grew stronger, took more and more control. It participated in TV debates, went out on the town alone. “It will only be specialists there, you wouldn’t understand a thing.” Late one night the disease told him they had to talk. “I’m sorry to have to tell you this, but you and I have grown apart. I’m moving in with Dr. Alfred. You remember Alfred? We’ve been seeing each other secretly for several months. We’re so good together.”


Dag T. Straumsvåg was born in 1964 and raised along the sparsely populated coastline of western Norway. A respected translator of contemporary American poetry, he serves as editor and publisher of Pir forlag, an independent press specializing in poetry. Red Dragonfly Press has published two of his books, A Bumpy Ride to the Slaughterhouse and The Lure-Maker from Posio, both translated by Robert Hedin and Louis Jenkins. He lives in Trondheim.

Robert Hedin is the author, translator, and editor of nearly two dozen books of poetry and prose. He serves as founding director of the Anderson Center, a residential artist retreat in Red Wing, Minnesota. At the Great Door of Morning: Poems and Translations is forthcoming from Copper Canyon Press in 2016.

“Sociable” by Dag T. Straumsvåg, translated by Robert Hedin and Dag T. Straumsvåg, first appeared in the Alaska Quarterly Review, Vol. 22 No. 1 & 2.