1999 Pia Tafdrup, Denmark: Dronningeporten

1999 Pia Tafdrup, Danmark: Dronningeporten

About the author

Pia Tafdrup was born in Copenhagen, grew up in northern Zealand and made her literary debut in 1981. She has predominantly published collections of poems, the best known being The Crystal Forest (1992), but novels and plays are also among her publications. Pia Tafdrup has been a member of Det Danske Akademi since 1989 and is also a member of the European Academy of Poetry. Among several other honours, she has received the Swedish Academy’s Nordic Prize and Weekendavisen's Literary Prize.

About the winning piece

Queen's Gate came into being following a visit to Jerusalem. After a day’s walks in the Old City, she noted that none of the city’s eight gates had female attributes. Her impulse became to make a female gate in the form of literature – Queen’s Gate. The collection of poems is made up of nine parts or chapters. Each part contains seven poems with a title of its own: The Drop, the Lake, the River, the Well, the Sea, Life Fluids, the Bath, the Rain and the Rainbow. The metaphors of the water dominate the language and relates to all things female. The language is emotional with rich suggestive beauty and great precision. Pia Tafdrup talks about the woman and her body. This work is on the relationship between mother and daughter, sexuality, love, pregnancy, delivery, death, happiness and sorrow. The constant dialogue with literature, classical music and visual arts appears as a contrast structure in the collection.

Dronningeporten (Queen’s Gate)

Published by: Gyldendal publishing company 

Publication year: 1999

This is what the Adjudicating Committee had to say

Pia Tafdrup’s "Queen’s Gate” is a poem suite centred on water in all its forms. It is a complete picture of all the basic conditions in nature and the human life cycle, reflected through a female imagination with the body as the axis, in a poetic language with great visual and emotional power.