Kenny Goldsmith, English version of introduction translated into Icelandic and read aloud by the poet (who does not know a word of Icelandic)

I am an American poet, and like most Americans, I speak only one language. When asked to read in Reykjavík, I figured that the last thing Icleand (or the rest of the world) needed was more imported American culture--in English--no less (remember the Clash's "I'm So Bored With The U.S.A."?). Hence, I've decided to start my reading in Icelandic, a language that I have never spoken nor written.

Most likely, you can't understand a word I'm saying, even though it's your native language. So, we're even: We're both in a situation of not understanding. All we can possibly do is listen to the way that the words sound instead of what they mean. And by doing so we are all entering into a new relationship to language that permits us to reframe the mundane in the language of the mundane.

For years, I've been working toward a situation like the one we find ourselves in now: one where language is purely formal and concrete; like language itself, this talk is both meaningful and meaningless at the same time. The air is now thick with sound posing as language.

I could continue and do the whole reading in Icelandic but I think you get the point. Now I'll do the rest of the reading in English, but after this rough beginning, you can better understand what I'm trying to do with my work in my native language: to approximate the utopian situation we find ourselves in at the moment, one of willful ignorance.