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Helge Torvund

Translated by Jeanie Shaterian

Helge Torvund is a poet, author, psychologist and critic.  From his debut in 1977 until 2007 he has published poetry collections almost every year, totaling 25  Torvund was born 20 august 1951  in the Nærbø Jæren and live in  Rogaland. He took the economic matriculation at Rogaland public school land at Bryne in 1970 and became Psychologist.
 As a psychologist, he worked first as an environmental worker in Bjerketun Home and School in 1982, then the PPT service in Grimstad in 1982-1984.  From the 1988 he had part-time position as school psychologist at Ogna school and has since been combined position at DPI service in Hå Ogna and at school as a school psychologist.
Torvund debut collection of poems hands in the city (1977) and established itself as a prominent poet of Lyssmeden in 1983.  Collection of poems Everything is high (2007) was a new highpoint in writing.
Weekend Torvund was art reported in Stavanger Times from 1998 until 2001. He has reported poetry in Arbeiderbladet and Day and Time and was the main sign of poetry in Dagbladet from 2001 through 2007. Since 2001 he has been engaged as a teacher poems on this page dagbladet.no.  He has worked as a consultant for several publishing houses.
Torvund has collaborated with photographers and composers, sculptors and graphic.  Together with photographer Morten Brun, he had a regular column with photo and poem in Day and Time for five years.
 He has rewritten the American poets Robert Bly in the Morning Poems (1999) and NRitual songs from North American Indians (1986).

From his debut in 1977 and through all the poetry collections, Torvund explored and worked on the poetic language.  In the first collection he cut the phrase down to ever-shorter stuff poems.  It woke attention in the literary Norway when Helge Torvund in 2007 presented a collection of poems with a radical new design language.  His poems for poetic openings for small and large situations and events.
 He is also a poet who write everyday senses and tenderly about relationships in a close family group, about the love between two people and adults about the relationship between parents and children.


I go out with a trash bag in my hand
The light’s shut off and the starry sky

is dark as animal pelt and the stars
shine so brightly that I stop and stand still

My whole life long I’ve been gathering winter evenings
into this pale body

Now I’ve come to this evening
and stand here with garbage in my fist

and these stars’ miraculous family
over my head


The Ogna River flows in soft curves
between fields and rocks

You’ve set the table with flowers and shrimp
I uncork a gleaming green wine

The sun’s gone down and bit by bit the color blue has
taken over the landscape and the window pane

The train rounds a bend along the bayshore
and we eat without saying a word


The faint rose light in the east draws me to the window
November is no month for monumental thoughts

Carefully I touch my grief and loneliness
and find it all just as it used to be

If I can live a few more years and and not fall prey to bitterness
I’ll have twelve more times to glorify the light

I’m sick of books that strip naked without blushing
and newspapers that play the whore with bombs

There are Beethoven colors over the hedge today
and my ears feel big enough for one more winter

An old gray world in a tweed cap comes up the garden path
and greets me with an absent-minded nod


Out of the crystalized air
big wet snowflakes come hovering spiraling

I stand inside with a mug of hot tea
and feel my soul writhe

like the twisted hazel in the garden
like the twisted bass notes in the radio

I am all the cold
mornings in my life


In the ice at Canary Grass Marsh
stand blades of ditchweed

in their own winter day
This yellow and that white call to me

as if there was something I should have known
and understood

But there’s no sound
The moon swings its sickle through hours and reeds

When I come home I want to drink
warm wine

and feel with my hand
how soft you are over your hip


The blue in the down jacket
frozen into the asphalt
by the side of a busy road
makes something in Hertervig a lot clearer
than the light within the museum


When the heron is gray and the wine red
and you’re waiting at home in the house

the moon mirrors itself in the round mirror

I go across the plain on the straight road
The spruce trees must be ice-cold to the core of their trunks

From the top of a boulder
I see the sun carry off the light in a dark sack

and slink back under the horizon
like a thief


Restlessness that grows out of solitude
All the winter days

you stood looking out a window
and the restless glossy glittering love

of frost pebbles and
the blackbird that’s pecking

at a red apple
I am full of despair

and confidence


How long will this uneasiness torment me
How long will my lips feel like a monkey’s

I walk around on evening roads and
give myself a hard time

and come home with darkened temples
But this is your best day

you dress in warm vibant colors
you set the table into an artwork

You sit down and bask in soft-edged peace
Your eyes draw me to you and you look at me

and smile above your tender breasts
Oh my God! I think

and navigate the teacup
up to my gorilla lips


I no longer go
to the quiet place by the river

I used to sit there
when I couldn’t take it any more

Now I can take anything
except sitting there


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