Page 39 - September 2020
P. 39


                  Nizar Sartawi in conversation with

                                                 Niels Hav

              Niels  Hav  is  a  Danish  poet  and  short  story  writer
              with  awards  from  The  Danish  Arts  Council.  He  is
              the author of seven collections of poetry and three
              books  of  short  fiction.  His  books  have  been
              translated  into  many  languages  including  English,
              Arabic, Turkish, Dutch, Farsi, Serbian, Kurdish and
              Portuguese.  His  second  English  poetry  collection,
              We  Are  Here,  was  published  by  Book  Thug  in
              Toronto; his poems and stories have been published
              in a large number of magazines and newspapers in
              different  countries  of  the  world,  including  The
              Literary  Review,  Ecotone,  Acumen,  Exile,  The  Los
              Angeles Review, Absinthe: New European Writing,
              Shearsman  and  PRISM  International.  He  has
              travelled  widely  and  participated  in  numerous
              international poetry events in Europe, Asia, Africa,
              North  and  South  America.  He  has  frequently  been
              interviewed by the media. Niels Hav was raised on a
              farm in western Denmark, today he resides in the
              most colourful and multi-ethnic part of the capital,
              Copenhagen.  His  most  recent  book,  ‘Øjeblikke  af
              lykke’  /  ‘Moments  of  Happiness’  was  published  by
              Det Poetiske Bureaus Forlag, 2020.

              Nizar Sartawi: So many poets start writing poetry at an early age. Could you tell us about
              your beginning as a poet, relating how your education, family, and environment, influenced
              your poetry?

              Niels  Hav:  I  was  raised  on  a  farm  far  from  the  capital  on  the  Danish  west  coast.  Not  a
              particularly literary environment, I was the first in my family to become a university student.
              Those early experiences with animals, farm work and the nature around still mean a lot to
              me  also  when  I’m  writing  poetry.  Moreover,  I  got  something  very  important  for  young
              people:  a  great  longing  to  explore  the  world.  Big  dreams  grow  in  small  places.  As  a
              teenager  I  wrote  hypersensitive  and  unfinished  poems  without  much  life  experience.  I
              stumbled around and harvested defeats - thank God for the wonderful naivety in the heyday
              of  youth,  without  which  this  world  would  petrify  into  conservatism  and  tradition.  Later  I
              went to university, where my personal experiences were put into a larger perspective. The
              fact is that if you want to be a writer, you are first and foremost a reader. You must know
              the tradition if you want to put pen to paper and take the next step and write something

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