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The Wild Gods

by Malene Engelund

‘Tonight, I’ll walk through that fire.’

The eighteen poems that comprise Malene Engelund’s debut pamphlet, The Wild Gods, reveal a distinctly Nordic imagination, punctured with rich colour, shadows and light.

Here are letters, portraits and prayers, composed with an almost painterly precision. Searching and clear-eyed, each poem a compact saga that revives folklore and extends it into the present, Engelund’s wild gods take their places between borders: of home and belonging, darkness and dawn, the silenced and the lost.

“Malene Engelund has a lovely liquid way with verbs. Her phrase ‘DNA of flight’ applies not only to the birds who preside over these poems but to language itself as it flows through them, creating a haunted, Northern Lights habitat where snow, sea and night trace the inner bones of the relationship between every I and every you.”
— Ruth Padel

“Malene Engelund’s arresting debut leads us into a landscape of snow and silence, of characters submerged and on the brink of madness; ‘I write in black.’ But against the darkness we find the colours of a painter’s palette, of birds making for the sky, of voices refusing to be muted and claiming for themselves a new language.”
— Lorraine Mariner


Malene Engelund grew up in Aalborg, a city grown from a former Viking settlement in northern Denmark. She moved to England in 2002 and holds an MA in Creative Writing from Royal Holloway University of London. She currently lives in Copenhagen.

She is co-editor of the Days of Roses poetry anthologies and was highly commended in the Faber New Poets 2013/14 competition. Her poems have appeared in various magazines and anthologies, including Poetry Wales, Magma, Best British Poetry 2014 (Salt) and Pocket Horizon. Her publications with Valley Press include her debut pamphlet The Wild Gods (2016), and her translation of Christel Wiinblad's Danish collection My Little Brother (2020).


Edition: Paperback

Date Published: 2016-03-10

ISBN: 9781908853622

Catalogue Number: VP0079

Number of Pages: 36

Cover design by Jamie McGarry

Cover artwork by Polly Morgan, image by Tessa Angus

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