"Å det var ingenlunde småtterier når Isak la sig på en vognstang og gjorde sig tung. Nu ligger han der og heiser og heiser, kyklopisk og overordentlig, med en overkrop som syntes å gå til knærne. der var en vis pomp og pragt over ham, hans ækvator var utrolig." Markens grøde  


Even Arntzen, Olga Zhgenti and Leif Hamsun Helge Øvensen, Olga Zhgenti and Kirsten Hedvig Rasmussen

Once again I had this thrilling invitation in my hands. Hamsun and Ibsen days in Grimstad 8 - 12 August 2007, and immediately expectation and joy rose. Loving thoughts to the two old dead poets, who once again side by side dominated the cover of the programme.

It became again memorable days in Grimstad with lots of experiences and impressions. The programme looked like a cornucopia:

Wednesday 8. August
Kl 19: Growth of the Soil. Literary café with Oddbjørn Johannessen. The Pharmacy garden.
Thursday 9. August
Kl 19: Growth of the Soil. Theatre performance with Juni Dahr and Gard B. Eidsvold. The barn at Storegra farm.
Kl 21: "Knut Hamsun's caucasian Mysteries". A film from Georgia by Olga Zhgenti. Catilina Arts centre.
Exhibition of Georgian handicrafts. Arts centre, the gallery.
Friday 10. August
Kl 11: The
chemist's apprentice. Guided tour of the Ibsen-museum.
Kl 12: A poet in the town of poets. Dag Solstad: On Hamsun. The Pharmacy garden.
Kl 13.30: Award ceremony. The Ibsen- and Hamsun-award. President of the jury, mayor Svein Harberg, speaks. The Pharmacy garden.
Kl 15: "Knut Hamsun's caucasian Mysteries". A film from Georgia by Olga Zhgenti. Catilina Arts centre.
Kl 17: «Hunger». A film by Henning Carlsen. Vesle Halvard Arts centre.
Kl 19: Growth of the Soil. Theatre performance with Juni Dahr and Gard B. Eidsvold. The barn at Storegra farm.
Kl 19: Marie Hamsun. Prison and freedom. Texts from Marie Hamsun's memoirs, selected by Ghita Nørby and Niels Birger Wamberg. Recited by Ghita Nørby. On the piano: Sven Skipper. Dahlske videreg. skole, vandrehallen.
Saturday 11. August
Kl 11: The
chemist's apprentice. Guided tour of the Ibsen-museum.
Kl 12: Can Hamsun and Ibsen contribute to today's debate on climate policies? Lecture by Kåre Willoch. The Pharmacy garden.
Kl 15: Concert on the lawn: Odd Børretzen and Lars Martin Myhre.
Kl 17: Terje Vigen recited by Per Chr. Ellefsen. Viga at Kvaløya.
Kl 20.30: Knut Hamsun: «Hunger». The director Henning Carlsen tells, how he made the film. The Pharmacy garden. Interview: Jon Selås.
Sunday 12. August
Kl 17: «Hunger». A film by Henning Carlsen. Vesle Halvard Arts centre.

I had the pleasure of accompanying Olga Zhgenti and her sister Keti from Georgia. Olga is also the founder and president of the Hamsun-Society in Georgia. Her Hamsun film had it's Norwegian first performance in Grimstad. It became a deep and special experience to watch the film, because of Olga's love for Hamsun is unique. There was a reception after the film, where the Georgian ambassador to Norway, David Kereselidze, together with Olga presented a relief of Knut Hamsun in bronze on behalf of the artist Irakli Ochiaris. It was quite overwhelming, that one of the most renowned artists of Georgia would donate his relief of Hamsun to the city of Grimstad. Mayor Svein Harberg promised in his speech of thanks, that the relief would become a most prominent place in Grimstad's Hamsun-museum, as soon as it is erected, to the memory of the love for Hamsun present in Georgia. It was also exiting for Keti and Olga to meet Toril and Leif Hamsun and to visit Marianne Hamsun in her home. I will for ever remember the look in Olga's eyes as she saw beautiful Nørholm appear, that look told a story of her emotions. Another memorable moment for Olga was to meet Helge Øvensen, who was the constable in charge of order in the court-room at the trial against Knut Hamsun in Grimstad.


Leif Hamsun with the relief of his grandfather Ola Veigaard's speech of thanks

I am looking back on all the things I experiences! There were so many highlights to remember. The presentation of the Ibsen- and Hamsun-award to a highly surprised and moved Ghita Nørby in the garden of the pharmacy or Ghita Nørby reading texts from Marie Hamsun's memoirs, accompanied by her husband Sven Skipper on the piano, so that all including herself had tears in their eyes.

"Så er vandreren fremme. Det var ikke altid let at holde trit med dig, elskede. Sommetider måtte du vente på mig, og sommetider jeg på dig, og det skete, at vi kom fra hinanden på veien. Men vi fandt altid sammen igen. Farvel min Knut, og tak for følget."

Then there was "Growth of the Soil" performed in the barn at Storegra farm with Juni Dahr and Gard B. Eidsvold, really incredibly, that two people are able to transport the moods from the book into the room, so that one formerly sensed all the characters being invisibly present in the barn. A strong experience to sit in the barn with the scent of hay in one nose and know, that just before the performance started, a calf was born in the stable below.



Henning Carlsen and Ghita Nørby Sven Skipper, Else Carlsen, Even Arntzen and Leif Hamsun
Kirsten Hedvig Rasmussen and Olga Zhgenti Olga Zhgenti and Marianne Hamsun

There were so many interesting events. The introduction to Growth of the Soil with Oddbjørn Johannessen really set everything straight. Henning Carlsen is unique, I could listen to him for hours, also Dag Solstad. After having heard Kåre Willoch on the topic: Can Hamsun and Ibsen contribute to today's debate on climate policies, I sensed a man, open to the world's problems. The climate we all have to take serious now!

Once again I have to apologise to you, Ibsen, that I missed Terje Vigen performed on Kvaløya - by Per Chr. Ellefsen this year by the way. But having probed the weather - it rained cats and dogs - I decided to enjoy life in the company of Kety and Olga instead.


Socializing.

A very important part of the festival is the company and all the debates with old and new friends. A special sentiment always rules in Grimstad, the beautiful harbour town, during the Hamsun- and Ibsen-days. Ola Veigaard and his team, as well as Ibseniana deserve high praise for this eminent programme.

The trip home went fine, "Lina", my new red Polo stood the distance and has managed more than 4000 Km. on this trip buzzing up and down the motorway. Yes, it has more horse powers under it's bonnet than "Nagel" my old yellow Polo. (Some Hamsun has to be in my life). Home I was met with warmth, well not only by Gert, but we had 34°C in the shade.


© Kirsten Hedvig Rasmussen www.hamsun.at