"...spare, psalmlike poems....Together, the poems in this beautifully translated selection...provide us with the autobiography of a poet who felt most at home during winter, in solitude. Hauge deserves a larger American readership, and this book may summon it." —Publishers Weekly
"(Hauge's) poetry is miniaturist, pictorial, and ruminative; personal in that his experience, cognitive and sensual observations, and intentions are everywhere in it. Yet it isn't at all confessional or self-assertive....He is a man who knows where he is and helps us feel that we can know where we are, too."—Booklist
“If you have a tiny farm, you need to love poetry more than the farm. If you sell apples, you need to love poetry more than the apples.”—Robert Bly, from the introduction
Olav H. Hauge, one of Norway’s most beloved poets, is a major figure of twentieth-century European poetry. This generous bilingual edition—introduced by Robert Bly—includes the best poems from each of Hauge’s seven books, as well as a gathering of his last poems.
Ever sage and plainspoken—and bearing resemblance to Chinese poetry—Hauge’s compact and classically restrained poems are rooted in his training as an orchardist, his deep reading in world literatures, and a lifetime of careful attention to the beauties and rigors of the western fjordland. His spare imagery and unpretentious tone ranges from bleak to unabashedly joyous, an intricate interplay between head and heart and hand.
The rose has been sung about.
I want to sing of the thorns,
and the root—how it grips
the rock hard, hard
as a thin girl’s hand.
During a writing career that spanned nearly fifty years, Olav H. Hauge produced seven books of poetry, numerous translations, and several volumes of correspondence. A largely self-educated man, he earned his living as a farmer, orchardist, and gardener on a small plot in the fjord region of western Norway.