Who is Seven Responses?
Ursula Andkjær Olsen, poet/musicologist
Work drawn on for Pelle Gudmundsen-Holmgreen's response, Ad Cor
Pelle Gudmundsen-Holmgreen's search for contemporary poetry to balance the ancient words found in Buxtehude's oratorio led him to the work of Ursula Andkjær Olsen, a Danish poet and musicologist born in Copenhagen in 1970. In his words, her poetry offers ''another way of addressing the heart - desperate, critical, mocking.'' Unlike the love described in Song of Songs and Salve mundi salutare, the love of Urusala's poem is not clearly defined; rather, it is complex, obsessive, hot and cold: ''I just can't feel anything/anyone.''
Much of Ursula's work is centered around the relationship between poetry, prose, and music, of which she writes:
''The world as it is seen through human beings consists of coordinates of various kinds . . . Poetry tries to find alternative structures, alternative coordinates to bind things together, and one of the most important basic principles of those other coordinates must probably – in spite of everything – still be called beauty. These alternative principles may be related to image, sound or rhythm, for example.
The search for rhythm and sound coordinates may seem like something very insignificant – but I believe this quest may actually be able to reveal undersea and oversea connections and thereby possibilities of perception different from those that can be offered by science and narrative art.''
Ursula's work spans an eclectic range of styles and formats. She has published nine collections of poetry, eleven dramatic works, three collected works, three collaborations with visual artist Sophia Kalkaus, and a short story. She also collaborated with Julie Andkjær Olsen on an iPad app and an advent calendar. In 2015, Ursula contributed to the decoration at a Phsyciatric Hospital in Slagelse.
Check out these photos of her work at the psychiatric ward: http://www.ursulaandkjaerolsen.dk/2015/09/psykiatrisygehuset-i-slagelse/
Ursula has written many music reviews - for the Danish Music Journal, Berlingske, and Politken; she has been editor of the journal Critique since 2013. An avid supporter of new music, she has published a high school textbook: New music after 1945 with Palle Andkjær Olsen as well as an essay on her Seven Responses collaborator Pelle Gudmundsen-Holmgreen: Each with its beak: Pelle Gudmundsen-Holmgreen's musical universe.
Although English translations of her work are rare, a collection in French, German, Italian, and Russian is found on her website: http://www.ursulaandkjaerolsen.dk/translations/
She earned her MA in Musicology and Philosophy from the University of Copenhagen and the Technical University, Berlin; she graduated from the Danish Writers Institution, a highly-selective, state-funded higher education school in Copenhagen, in 1999.