Nordbrandt, Henrik 1945-

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Nordbrandt, Henrik 1945-


Born March 21, 1945, in Copenhagen, Denmark; son of Poul Erik (a Danish Marine Corps officer) and Greta Marie (a county administrator) Nordbrandt; married Martha Birgitta Keiding, 1967 (divorced, 1970); married Annell Fuchs, 1977 (divorced). Education: Conduccted independent study in Turkish and Arabic.


E-mail—[email protected].


Poet and writer; freelance reporter for Danish newspapers; translator from Turkish into Danish; producer for Radio Denmark.


State Art Foundation bursary, 1967, life bursary, 1980; Literature Prize, Danish Academy, 1980; Guild of Literary Critics' Prize, 1984; Nordic Prize, Swedish Academy, 1990; Danish Critic's Prize, best book of the year; Life Grant of Honour, Danish State; Literature Prize, Nordic Council, 2000, for Drømmebroer.


Digte (title means "Poems"), Gyldendal (Copenhagen, Denmark), 1966.

Miniaturer (title means "Miniatures"), Gyldendal (Copenhagen, Denmark), 1967.

Syvsoverne (title means "The Sluggards"), Gyldendal (Copenhagen, Denmark), 1969.

Omgivelser, Gyldendal (Copenhagen, Denmark), 1972.

Opbrud og ankomster (title means "Departures and Arrivals"), Gyldendal (Copenhagen, Denmark), 1974.

Glas (poetry; title means "Glass"), Gyldendal (Copenhagen, Denmark), 1976.

Ode til blæksprutten (title means "Ode to the Octopus"), Gyldendal (Copenhagen, Denmark), 1976.

Guds hus (poetry; title means "God's House"), P. Augustinus (Copenhagen, Denmark), 1977.

Istid (poetry; title means "Ice Age"), Gyldendal (Copenhagen, Denmark), 1977.

Necropolis: 12 Poems, translated by Nadia Christensen, P. Augustinus (Copenhagen, Denmark), 1977.

Breve fra en ottoman, Gyldendal (Copenhagen, Denmark), 1978.

Selected Poems, translated by Alexander Taylor, Curbstone Press (Willimantic, CT), 1978.

Rosen fra Lesbos, Swing (Copenhagen, Denmark), 1979.

Spøgelseslege (poetry; title means "Ghost Games"), Gyldendal (Copenhagen, Denmark), 1979.

Forsvar for vinden under døren (title means "Defense for the Wind under the Door"), 1980.

Armenia (poetry), Gyldendal (Copenhagen, Denmark), 1982.

Finckelsteins blodige bazar, Gyldendal (Copenhagen, Denmark), 1983.

84 digte (title means "84 Poems"), 1984.

Violinbyggernes by, 1985.

Håndens skælven i november (poetry), Brøndum (Copenhagen, Denmark), 1986.

Under mausolæet (poetry; title means "Under the Mausoleum"), Gyldendal (Copenhagen, Denmark), 1987.

Nissan flytter med, Gyldendal (Copenhagen, Denmark), 1988.

Tifanfaya (novel), Dansklarerforeningen/Gyldendal (Copenhagen, Denmark), 1990.

Glemmesteder (poetry), Brøndum (Copenhagen, Denmark), 1991.

Støvets tyngde, Brøndum (Copenhagen, Denmark), 1992.

Den elektriske mus, Gyldendal (Copenhagen, Denmark), 1993.

Ormene ved himlens port, Gyldendal (Copenhagen, Denmark), 1995.

Ruzname: Dagbog, 4. marts 1995—4. marts 1996, Brøndum/Aschehoug (Copenhagen, Denmark), 1996.

Drømmebroer (title means "Dream Bridges"), Gyldendal (Copenhagen, Denmark), 1998.

Fralandsvind (poetry), Gyldendal (Copenhagen, Denmark), 2001.

Døden fra Lübeck, Gyldendal (Copenhagen, Denmark), 2002.

My Life, My Dream: Selected Poems of Henrik Nordbrandt, translated by Robin Fulton, Dedalus Press (Dublin, Ireland), 2002.

Pjaltefisk (poetry), Gyldendal (Copenhagen, Denmark), 2004.

Dumhedens løvedødder: idiosynkrasier m.m., Gyldendal (Copenhagen, Denmark), 2005.

Besøgstid (poetry), Gyldendal (Copenhagen, Denmark), 2007.


Henrik Nordbrandt is a major Danish poet who has spent much of his life outside Denmark, particularly in Asia Minor. Although he dropped out of college and never earned a degree, he has independently studied Chinese language and culture since 1966, Turkish since 1969, and Arabic since 1975. He has written several volumes of poetry, as well as essays, children's books, a Turkish diary, and a cookbook.

Nordbrandt is the son of a captain in the Danish Marine Corps and a county administrator. His family was middle class, and he led a rather sheltered life, suffering frequently from ear, nose, and throat infections. These recurrent illnesses were one reason he eventually chose to live in the dry Mediterranean climate.

Nordbrandt first visited Greece in 1966, when his first volume of poetry, Digte, was published. Shortly afterward, he dropped out of college and returned to Greece, but he did not stay in one place; restlessly, he moved from island to island, to Spain, and eventually to Turkey.

According to Sven Hakon Rossel in the Encyclopedia of World Literature, Nordbrandt's work is characterized by a "longing for greater openness than modern, rationalist civilization can provide and an attempt to dispel human isolation caused by a sense of inconstancy and absence even when close to natural objects or human beings." This theme, wrote Rossel, is evident in Digte. The poems in this volume express a sense of loss mingled with romantic longing, "in stanzas of exquisite beauty," according to Rossel. This theme continues throughout Nordbrandt's work and is intensified in his more recent works, in which he expresses grief over the early death of his lover, Ingrid, who died at age twenty-eight.

Nordbrandt's work is also greatly influenced by his exposure to non-European culture and literature. He has developed his own distinct style and voice, finding inspiration from Scandinavian, European, and American poets, as well as from his experiences outside Denmark.

Rossel wrote, "Nordbrandt's evocative mastery of language and style is conspicuous already from his first book. With every new collection he has further consolidated his exceptional position or rather uniqueness as the most accomplished Danish poet of his generation."



Dictionary of Literary Biography, Volume 214: Twentieth-Century Danish Writers, Thomson Gale (Detroit, MI), 1999.

Encyclopedia of World Literature in the Twentieth Century, 3rd edition, St. James Press (Detroit, MI), 1999.


Europe, March, 2000, Leif Breck Fallesen, "Capturing Nordic Moods," p. 41.