Jeanette Lee Atkinson on Karl Ragnar Gierow (1980) page 15
A sceptic´s way
Gierow returned to simplicity of expression in Innan klockan slagit noll (Before the Clock Has Struck Zero; 1978). These poems have an aura of gentle melancholy. Images of old age, impending winter, cold and shorter days suggest an anticipation of death. Gierow’s wanderer, ”astray in the valley’s darkness,” has reached no more certainty than the questions ”And if you had not been born? / What difference? / If you shall not go away, where shall you go?” (”Vilse i dalens mörker” [Astray in the Valley’s Darkness]). Nonetheless, he is comforted by the certainty that he will reach ”home.”
Karl Ragnar Gierow has contributed to virtually every sphere of Swedish literary life, both as creative artist and as influential critic and essayist. He has participated actively in Swedish cultural life through his translations and through his innovative work with radio, film and theatre. In turn he has contributed to international literary understanding through his activities with the Swedish Academy. He was instrumental in adding O’Neill’s Long Day’s Journey into Night, Hughie and A Touch of the Poet to the world dramatic repertoire.
Gierow’s literary production not only casts light on developments in Swedish letters but also places him in a global context. His unrelenting attempt to find a place for value in a world of scepticism and facts combined with his formal traditionalism relates his work to the endeavors of T. S. Eliot, Maxwell Anderson and the New Humanist movement in the U.S. His poetry in Ödletid and Vid askens rötter along with his wartime dramas provides insight into Swedish beredskapslitteratur and a point of comparison and contrast with both the production of the ”inner emigration” in Nazi Germany and that of the exiled German writers.