for Harold

Olav H. Hauge (1908–1994), a notable modernists, was one of Norway’s most beloved poets in the 20th century. While he lived a seemingly plain life as a gardener and fruit farmer in Ulvik where he grew up, he lived a grander life in literature.

As a poet, Hauge started on the outskirts of the literary institution. From his youth up until his fifties, Hauge occasionally suffered from mental problems. He was admitted in a psychiatric hospital several times. This may explain his late debut, at the age of 38.

After his debut, new books with his own poetry were published every fifth year until 1971. Although Hauge published a few prose articles, he has been seen almost purely as a poet. But his largest body of work is in fact prose. When he died, it was revealed that he had kept a diary from the age of 15. In books, this constitutes five volumes and about four thousand pages, Dagbok 1924-1994 (2000). In size, this is the largest literary diary in Norwegian. Hauge was also an industrious letter writer.

In my last post I was asked for an audio version of Olav H Hauge’s poem Det er den draumen. The only thing I could find was this strange, old recording. Hauge himself was a very shy person, and the strength of the rhythm and content are not fully brought through in the recording. But it might still be of some interest
* * *

In this recording Olav H Hauge  reads four poems

1. Du var vinden

You Are The Wind

I am a boat
without wind.
You were the wind.
Was that the direction I wanted to go?
Who cares about directions
with a wind like that!

2. Elvane møtest
3. Det er den draumen

It’s the Dream
(Translated by Robin Fulton)

It’s the dream we carry in secret
that something miraculous will happen,
that it must happen –
that time will open
that the heart will open
that doors will open
that the mountains will open
that springs will gush –
that the dream will open,
that one morning we will glide into
some little harbour we didn’t know was there.

4. Katten
* * *
* * *

8 thoughts on “for Harold

  1. It is interesting to hear this Norwegian poetry. Next week I am going to Norway to complete an artist residency and to learn Hardangerfele, in Alvik, not so far from Ulvik. I am interested in gathering audio material from local people. I am particularly interested in folklore and story telling. The Norwegian language is so musical to listen to!
    Have you any advice about other poets or famous Norwegian story tellers/stories?
    It would be great to hear from you.
    Many thanks.

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