Hans Børli

Hans Borli

Hans Børli (1918 – 1989) Norwegian poet and writer, born in Eidskog, in South-Eastern Norway, close to the the Norwegian border to Sweden.

Hans Børli was raised on a small farm, in an area with no roads, it was part of the forests of Eidskog municipality. The experience of poverty and hardship left a deep imprint on his later art. However, the positive effects of living close to nature, the wisdom of tradition and the solidarity between workers also had a huge bearing on his writings. Extensive reading gave him an urge to write. This was both a way of expressing personal feelings, frowned upon in a masculine worker’s environment, and also a possible way of literally escaping a position of economic and social inferiority. His mother’s father, himself was one of the last great oral narrator of legends and stories of the area, Ole Gundersen Børli, is also considered an important influence on the young, writer to be, Hans Børli. A strict christian upbringing left Børli forever struggling with the counteractive forces of rebellion and a deep embedded sense of religious awe.

In a social milieu where any education beyond the obligatory was very rare, young Hans, considered a gifted boy, was given a free place in Talhaug Mercantile School, in Kongsvinger which he left. Later he was admitted to a military academy in Oslo, but this education was aborted by the outbreak of the Second World War. Børli fought the Germans, and was involved in some intense battles in Vardal, and was prisoned in Lillehammer. After being released, he went back to Eidskog and worked as a teacher and forest worker for the rest of the war. He was also involved in activity, leading people, illegally, across the Swedish border for the remainder of the war. During that period he prepared his first collection of poetry “Tyrield” (Pine Passion) (1945).

To the end of his life he worked as a lumberjack, combined with writing.

Hans Børli’s poems are translated in many languages, and he has received many awards for his writing. Special translations: “We own the forests” (English, 2004), “Cesta Lecy” (Czech, 2012).

In 1991 Børli got his own Society of Friends, “Hans Børli-selskapet”


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