Vona Groarke in The New Yorker

The November 11 issue of The New Yorker includes Vona Groarke’s poem “The Landscapes of Vilhelm Hammershøi” on page 61.

1318173810_caxshmid_www.nevsepic.com.uaVilhelm Hammershøi (1864-1916) was a Danish painter best known for his low-key, soft portraits and interiors. Enigmatic and secretive, his paintings were described as “highly traditional, but also distinctively modern” in the 2008 London Royal Academy of Arts’ exhibition, Vilhelm Hammershøi: The Poetry of Silence. 

Not as well known are his landscapes, simple, often grey, and usually devoid of people.

Groarke’s poem captures and mirrors Hammershøi’s “illegible fields” and skies devoid of promises.

Between water reading itself a story
with no people in it

and fields, illegible, and a sky
that promises nothing,

least of all what will happen now,
are the trees

that do not believe in
any version of themselves

not even the one in which
they are apparently everyday trees

and not a sequences of wooden frames
for ordinary leaves.

Pictured above: Landscape – Kongevejen near Gentofte by Vilhelm Hammershøi

(By the way, it’s pronounced Hammers-hoy)

About wfupress

Wake Forest University Press was founded in 1976 in Winston-Salem, North Carolina. Exclusively publishing Irish poetry, we are a small academic press and the premier publisher of Irish poetry in North America. We still reside in Winston-Salem as a part of Wake Forest University, and continue to publish culturally-rich literature.
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