If I am being honest, I wasn't sure how I would feel when I began this poetry collection. The beginning was a rough start for me and I didn't see how my interpretation of Hygge translated into what I was reading. But then I continued. The more I read the more the poetry came off the page and caught my attention. It was also the first time I had laughed while reading a poetry collection which completely defied my preconceived notion of what the genre should be. It is a Hygge work, it is funny, and it is oddly fulfilling. Not at all like I expected and I am delighted by that fact.
Thank you Troubador Publishing Ltd and Peter G. Westergaard for the ARC in return for a honest review.
"Danish Northwest" by Peter Graarup Westergaard was a very interesting poetry collection. The collection was described as "hygge poems from the outskirts." Hygge being a word and lifestyle of the Danish that I have researched, learned about, and am currently trying to incorporate more and more in my own day to day, I was excited to read Westergaard's collection.
The poetry was translated from a Danish dialect called, "thybomål." The poetry was meant to demonstrate the "hygge" lifestyle in the northwestern region of Jutland called Thy. The poetry touches on themes of God, countrylife, globalism, immigration and other modern concerns. I found some of the poems to be universally important and thought-provoking. Others didn't "land" with me.
Overall, they were an interesting perspective from a distant land very different than my own. I enjoyed the unique voice.
Danish Northwest is a fine collection of poems that feature language, place, and people. Literary and beautiful work I would recommend for lovers of verse.
by Dr J
A beautiful collection that's poignant, enigmatic and relatable. A doorway to the author's soul is written on these pages. Highly recommended.
Felt the translation was excellent. Danish Northwest has a very rural flavour throughout the collection which does cover a number of themes.
Elegant and heartfelt.
Liked it a lot.
A fascinating collection. The poems are precise, observant, insightful. Upon completing the book, I have looked into Danish rural life in the outskirts as keenly as if I had visited. No, more keenly, because Westergaard introduces us to a cast of characters that otherwise I would have known only superficially. Here I find people full of personality and quirkiness set in a landscape eternal as farming, but as stoical as the Danes themselves. Yet there is humor here, too, found often in the final turn of the poem.
The book is organized into three sections: past, present, and future. Luckily for the reader, the past is the largest and the most descriptive. The present and future are also lovely, but in a more introspective way. One of these, "Refugee from the Homeland," has a second section that is so gorgeous I think I should copy it out by hand and doodle around it every day, letting its compression and feeling sink into my being, so that I may heed its wisdom.
I highly recommend this book for all poetry lovers, There is much in it that I wish to revisit. I'm grateful to Netgalley and the publisher Matador, an imprint of Troubador, for the copy I read in exchange for a fair review.
Peter Graarup Westergaard (b. 1975) has published the poetry collection Nordvest in 2017 in Danish. Furthermore, he has published poems and short stories in several literary magazines and written literary critique in national and local news papers. He holds an MA in comparative literature with a minor in English from Aarhus University and works as a high school teacher at a high school on Djursland in Denmark.