Tuesday, April 25th, the ambassador of Norway, Jan Grevstad, hosted a poetry reading event. The poet of the evening was Olav H. Hauge, one of the most famous Norwegian poets. His life, his works and his writing style were introduced and discussed to an audience of professors, poets, journalists and CEOs of publishing companies. Those present at the event had the pleasure of hearing the reading of Hauge’s poems in Norwegian and Korean, a book review by prof. Kim Yong Min, a musical piece of songs by Norwegian composer Edvard Grieg, and a speech by the translator himself.
(Image: Sulya Lee and Mona Budal)
(Image: Ki In Lee and ambassador Jan Grevstad)
(Image: Prof. Lim)
The background for the event was the recently released translation of 30 of Hauges poems into Korean. The collection of poems were translated by the estimated translator and professor Lim Sun-ki, through the publishing company Bomnal Books. The translation was supported financially by the Royal Norwegian Embassy in Seoul. Prof. Lim used both English, French and German translations during his work, and he also made use of Norwegian dictionaries and other texts written on Hauge's works to get as close to the words in their originial meaning as possible. During his speech, Prof Lim noted that the choice of translating Olav Hauge was because “his poems were true poetry” - they offered participation rather than experience. He also said that he saw himself as no translator, but a visitor into the boundless world that Hauge’s poems constitute.
(Image: From left: Yoo Jang keun, Hye Jin Sung, Jo Dong moon)
The room in which the event took place was adorned by photographs of Pål Hermansen, a respected photographer who has published more than 30 books and which has seen his pictures used in such famous magazines and newspapers as National Geographic, New York Times, The Guardian and BBC Wildlife Magazine. The musical entertainment was provided by vocalist Hye Jin Sung, supported by violinists Yoo Jang keun and Yoo Hae keun and cellist Jo Dong moon, which delievered a spectacular rendition of 3 compositions by the famous Norwegian composer, Edvard Gried. The quartet performed "Gruss", "Killingdans" and "En Drøm," the latter two of which were performed in "nynorsk".
(Image: Choi Soon Ja and Prof. Lim)
Olav Hauge (1908-1994), was a Norwegian poet who was famous for writing in "nynorsk" – one of two strands of the written Norwegian language. He is known for his modernist style, and his use of nature and references to natural phenomena as a way of expressing emotions and life wisdom. He was born, raised and lived his whole life on a small farm on the hillside of a fjord in Western Norway. He spent his life in those surroundings, saw how the seasons came and went, and felt how nature shaped him and his lifestyle there. This also shaped his style of poetry, to a very visual and concrete way of putting his words. Hauge introduced and popularized a strand of poetry in Norwegian literary circles called concrete poetry, which to this date still influences and inspires the works of other Norwegian poets. His legacy in Norwegian poetry cannot be underestimated, just as his position as a leading figure amongst "nynorsk"-writers cannot be ignored.