Poets' street

From 1940 to around 1965, Hveragerði was mostly known for the artists who lived in the town. These artists were poets, writers, music composers, painters and sculptors. They were all renowned people in Icelandic society and prominent in the cultural and educational matters of the nation. These artists lived mainly in Frumskógar, which was at the time called Skáldagata, or "The Street of Poets". Some of them did not get along all that well with each other, and on good days in the garden, or through the windows, the poets used to "fling" rhymes at each other across the street, some of which have become famous for their sometimes sarcastic or malicious humour.

Miðsel,- Frumskógar 10.

This house has been inhabited by many famous artists, painters as well as poets.

Garðshorn,- Frumskógar 9.

One of the poets/writers, Kristmann Guðmundsson, was a renowned womanizer, and was married seven times to seven different women. His garden in Garðshorn was famous for the variety of plants, some of which he imported to Iceland for the first time.

Smáragrund,- Frumskógar 11.

The house was built and inhabited by Ríkarður Jónsson, one of the most prominent sculptors and wood carvers in Iceland.

Ljósafell,- Frumskógar 7.

The reverend Helgi Sveinsson used to live in this house. Rev. Helgi had a unique gift for quickly composing humorous poems or verses and wrote down many of these rhymed discussions with people.

Vin,- Frumskogar 5.

Poets' street. Yet another artist, the writer Gunnar Benediktsson, used to live in Vin. The shortage of land in Hveragerdi has been a frequent issue of dispute in the political discussions of the town, mostly due to opposition from one political party to combining Hveragerdi with the neighbouring community, Ölfus, which possesses a large area of land reaching down to the sea.

The humour of the Icelandic verse is very difficult to translate. This is obviously due to the native humour and rhyme. Below is an example of two verses in Icelandic by Gunnar, with a humble try to convey the meaning with a touch of an attempt of rhyme in the first one. At the foundation of Hveragerdi community, the above mentioned Gunnar described the lack of the land space in following terms:
Hér er kominn hreppur nýr
(Here we have a community new)
hann er sagður kostarýr
(Said to be of merits few)
Þegar lífs við brjótum brýr
(When we die)
bæði segi og skrifa.
(I do not lie).
Í öllum hreppnum engin mold
(There is no space in the whole place)
Í að greftra latið hold.
(For burying our dead flesh)
Við neyðumst til að nuddast við að lifa.
(We are forced to continue to live, I guess).

En svo er aftur önnur sveit
(However, there is another community)
einstaklega kostafeit
(Of many merits)
enga frjórri augað leit
(So as never seen before)
um að tala og skrifa.
(Or written or talked about)
þar er þessi þykka mold
(Where the soil is thick and luxurious)
þar ma greftra latið hold,
(Where one can bury dead flesh)
þar eru menn sem þurfa ekki að lifa.
(Where people do not need to live)

This is still the case, and most deceased people of Hveragerdi are still buried in the church Kotströnd in the Ölfus community, which is located by the highway between Hveragerdi and Selfoss.

Bræðraborg,- Frumskógar 6.

The house was built in 1942 and was inhabited by a much respected and loved poet, Kristján Einarsson from Djúpilækur, during the years 1950-1961. Again, the humour of the verses composed, as it seems, in the spur of the moment, is difficult to convey. Once, Jóhannes from Katlar, an equally well known poet, had promised Kristján to buy him a bottle of spirit during the former's visit to town. Jóhannes, however, forgot this errand and Kristján reacted by the following ditty:
Ég skal vaka fram a fjöru,
(I shall stay awake tonight)
fantinn taka strax i kveld,
(Grab him (Jóhannes) as soon as he arrives)
ég skal maka Jóa úr tjoru,
(I will cover him in tar)
ég skal baka hann við eld.
(And I shall bake him by the fire)

Johannes did not take long to respond:

Að kveikja i Stjána er kostur rýr
(On the other hand, it is not worth a dime to set fire to Kristjan)
og krónutap það yrði,
(Merely a waste of money)
þvi tjaran er svo djöfull dýr
(Because the tar is so damn expensive)
en drengurinn einskis virði.
(And the boy is worth nothing)