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21 September 2007
Commemorative Issue

Halldis Moren Vesaas Centenary

Halldis Moren Vesaas (1907-95) is regarded as one of Norway's most prominent female lyric poets. A stamp has been issued to commemorate the hundredth anniversary of her birth. Her husband, the poet Tarjei Vesaas, was honoured in the same way in 1997. A husband and wife on separate stamps is not an everyday occurrence!

She was born and grew up in Trysil in Hedmark. Her father was a farmer, and her early home in a farming community gave her a positive approach to life that she never lost. Literature also had an important place in her life. At the age of nine, she was already writing stories for a children's magazine. She married Tarjei Vesaas in 1934 and they made their home at Midtbo Farm in Vinje (Telemark). Marriage provided inspiration for her poetry. She and -Tarjei felt a strong and close attachment for each other, but there were also times when they preferred to be apart.

Halldis Moren Vesaas made her debut as a lyric poet in 1929 with Harpe og dolk, a book about love and the joy of life. Male lyric poets had created a pattern in which women were always the object. Her poems had something new: they portrayed women as the loving subject, women with their own identities. For this she was criticised. That was no way for a woman to write. She even wrote a poem about a girl's first period ("New Woman")!

She published new collections in 1930 (Morgonen), in 1933 (Strender), in 1936 (Lykkelege hender) and in 1945 (Tung tids tale). Her poems were easy to understand, which was probably one of the reasons why she was able to retain her popularity as a poet throughout the post-war period without publishing another collection until 1995.

After the war she wrote a youth novel and factual prose. She also wrote two memoirs of her life with Tarjei Vesaas: I Midtbos bakkar (1974) and Baten om dagen (1976). Many years after Tarjei's death, Halldis Moren Vesaas found new love with actor Gisle Straume. This inspired more love poems and another collection of poems, Livshus (1995).

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Portrait and text from

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