Poul Lynggaard Damgaard

Myth, art and figure

The warmest regards to all who gathered in connection with the first edition of the International Poetry Festival "ORPHEUS" - PLOVDIV 2018". We all come from near and far to celebrate this great event.


The ancient myth about Orpheus and Eurydice is a story of love, death, and lovers in the borderland of parting. On the very day of the unconsummated wedding, Eurydice dies from a serpent´s bite, from when she walks through the meadows.

Orpheus was the greatest of Thracean singers, and the power of his art was so great, that the decision about her death was changed. Eurydice is given back to him, however, on a condition imposed upon him as a human beeing. During the walk from the land of the dead Orpheus is forbidden to even glance at Eurydice, without immediately losing her. In hope of a quick release of his longing, he turns, to reach for her, but touches nothing but the empty air.

Orpheus belongs to the great myths that we all feel connected to all over the world. Myths, that are universal and which we each relate to rooted in the local culture, we each belong to. Myths as part of the language of our homeland; a love for the language itself.

The Danish illustrator and graphic artist Palle Nielsen (1920- 2000) is considered to be one of the masters of the 20th century. He did several works with the myth of Orpheus and Eurydice. First part, Orpheus and Eurydice, includes 53 linocuts and was published in book form for the first time in 1959. These pictures show life conditions and threats in a modern technical era. It is an experience of the modern world out of control and an atmosphere of doom in the shape of urban architecture. In Orpheus and Eurydice, Orpheus is enclosed in his rage and despair, focused and passionate, he moves toward a goal. He has but one intention. To reach the coast of the land of the dead and win Eurydice back to life.

The Orpheus figure is a human being who is moved, who makes the decision to move, a person who is touched by the riddles of existence and who cannot deny his belief in human possibilities which go beyond the possible.


Decision. Palle Nielsen, Orpheus and Eurydice - part one, 1959



My gravity is not what it has been,

when I see myself as a changing season.

The blind spot when I speak.

I turn around like a square in the air,

whose crumbling corners up a grid

is freed sense.

A movement around horror.

Something will fall before it will emerge again.

A room not yet created.

I step up the hill towards the nearest

being, where the last century shows the way

like a worn arrow on the asphalt between the houses.


The project “International Festival of Poetry “ORPHEUS” – Plovdiv 2018” was realized with the financial support of “The Cultural Programme for the Bulgarian Presidency of the Council of the European Union 2018” of the National Culture Fund.


Bulgarian Presidency
of the Council of the European Union

© 2018 International Poetry Festival „Orpheus” – Plovdiv
Международен фестивал на поезията „ОРФЕЙ” – Пловдив