The Singer of Being and Nothingness: a Dionysian Plunge into the Poetry of Gunvor Hofmo

This reading of two poems by Gunvor Hofmo, «Fra en annen virkelighet» and «Gjest på jorden», makes use of Friedrich Nietzsche's thinking on the Dionysian in The Birth of Tragedy to elucidate on the tension in Hofmo's poetry between the intense presence of earthly phenomena («phusis») and their inevitable destruction («ananke»). This tension is often articulated, thematically as well as meta-poetically, as a struggle between being and nothingness. Instead of exclusively interpreting Hofmo's poetry as melancholic and pessimistic, this reading tries to emphasize the aspects of her poetry that underscore the existential connectedness to the earth. Hence, motifs of living beings and an intense experience of life form integral parts of her poetic world, even if these are doomed to destruction and nothingness in the poetic process.

Keywords: Gunvor Hofmo, poetry, Nietzsche, tragic, Dionysian, being, nothingness