Rolf Jacobsen

Rolf Jacobsen

About Rolf Jacobsen

Rolf Jacobsen (Oslo, March 8, 1907 - Oslo, February 20, 1994) was a Norwegian poet, known as The Poet of the Green because he was among the first Scandinavians to address the theme of man-nature balance and eco-sustainability. Under the pseudonym Rolf Høvre he wrote some of his first poems. In 1933 he published his first volume of poetry, Jord og jern (Earth and Iron), in which, like in the volume Vrimmel (Bustle), which appeared two years later, he was enthusiastic about technology and described the hustle and bustle of the big city, but also related to nature. He wanted to bring modern civilization into his rhyming poetry, Word and Rhythm" should breathe the sphere of drone of airplanes and lifting cranes and railway sleepers. In Jacobsen's town, the telephone wires are nerve fibers and the gas lines are blood vessels.
He helped to introduce modernism into Norwegian poetry. He published a body of work that earned him international recognition and established him as one of Europe's great poets. Jacobsen worked as a journalist; he married in 1940. In the same year he joined the fascist party Nasjonal Samling. In 1945 he was arrested. He stated that he would not have joined the party if the king and government had not left the country. He was sentenced to three and a half years in a labor camp.
In 1951 Jacobsen converted to Catholicism and, after a 16-year hiatus, published his third volume of poetry, Fjerntog. In 1953 he was reinstated in the Den norske Forfatterforening writers' association. His best-known poems come from the poetry collection Hemmelig liv (Secret Life), published in 1954. His poetry is here internalized, more nuanced and less rhetorical, […] humor and cheerfulness also resonate.
His poems in the poetry collection Nattåpent, published in 1985, express grief over his wife who died in 1983, but also resignation. His work has been translated into twenty languages, enjoying universal appeal in part because his clear, direct poetry so amply rewards re-reading. A bilingual collection spans Jacobsen's fifty-year career and includes, for the first time in English, his final poems. The Roads Have Come to An End Now (Copper Canyon Press) is translated by Robert Bly, Roger Greenwald, and Robert Hedin.

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