Peter Graarup Westergaard’s new book of poetry, Danish Northwest, is one I savored slowly, not wanting to finish. And when I did, I began to read it again. The book was written originally in the dialect of Northwestern Denmark and Danish, and translated into English as well.
The book has a strong sense of place, both in time and geography. Using spare words, portraits are drawn of the people, so that they came alive for me. The stories told in each short poem are clear Some are funny and easy to relate to, others are evocative. The book unfolds like a fine movie. The poems touch not only on the countryside and the culture, but also the people who lived in the town, on the farm, and gives glimpses into their day to day life, joys and hardships.
This poem below popped out to me as t sets a foundation for words to come.
Ode to a Craftsman
In my hometown of Nors, Jensen
the master bricklayer, transformed
a pallet of bricks into a solid wall
bound by the mystery of his cement.
With his solder stick he measured
each straight line and said to me then
how any good craftsman could build
what he wanted from these foundations
As I read the poems, I’ve felt peered into the past in this corner of Denmark, I saw children take giant steps past the tractors. I found myself wondering if the Troldborg Man turns into a normal-sized hare. I can almost smell the grasses of the countryside and see the farmyards, neighbors, village dances, and more. The book is divided into three parts, past, present, and future. My favorite poems are in the ‘past; section, and wonder how this will differ with other readers. The book is available on amazon. Here’s how to find Peter and his book online. https://petergraarupwestergaard.com/