Gro Dahle

Noorwegen / Norway

(Oslo, 1962) lives on the tiny island of Tjøme in the Oslofjord, with ‘a husband, three children, two rabbits, five fish, a parrot, a tortoise, nine white mice, a pig, half a dog and three million ants’. The

fact that she presents herself along with her animals has to do with her oeuvre.

Already in her début volume Audiens (Audience, 1987) we meet three dogs accompanying three sisters to an audience with the Pope. The monkey in her second volume, Apens Evangelium (Monkey gospel, 1989) is a wise fool who possesses dark knowledge. The monkey returns in her latest volume Velkommen til speilet (Welcome to the mirror, 1997), where he sits screaming in a blinded cage, like Kafka’s monkey in Report for an Academy (1917).

Animals are there in many guises, for instance in the images Dahle unfolds. In her poem ‘Who is it who sees no one?’ from the volume Regnværsgåter (Riddles of the rain, 1994), in which a mother carries her house on her back. Why? The poem leaves us guessing. Dahle confronts the reader with riddles that remain unsolved, she searches for knowledge that has been lost, that has vanished in the dark of all the light around us. ‘Each poem,’ she says, ‘is a new attempt at writing, a new way of approaching something I find worthwhile, a game and an experiment on my way to an unknown core. What that core may be? Life, death, the world. Humanity, family, love. All the big, abstract, empty words that I try to fill, in my own way, with my own concrete words.’

In 1997 Gro Dahle was awarded the Obstfelderpreis for her innovative poetry.