March 14, 2013



The Atom Poets consisted of a group of Icelandic poets, writing during the 1940s and 1950s who had broken with traditional forms. The term was taken from a novel by Icelandic writer Halldór Laxness, who used it in his novel The Atom Station, to describe, in unsympathetic terms, what he expressed as bad poetry.

     The poets included in this group—Einar Bragi, Hannes Sigfússon, Jón Óscar, Sigfús Daðason and Stefán Grimsson—were, in fact, introspective and experimental poets, some connected with French Surrealism, who altered the landscape of modern Icelandic poetry. But the pejorative term came to be used to describe them, despite the group having no manifesto or shared concerns. Some of them did, however, collaborate on the editorial board of Birtilngur, founded by Einer Bragi in 1953, devoted as a forum for Iceland modernists.

Douglas Messerli

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