Artist of the Month- September- Henrik Hoeg

This month's AOM is Henrik Hoeg. He's the master of ceremonies and a Heckler nominee for his heart behind Peel Street Poetry. A Third Culture kid raised in Hong Kong and true intellectual, he's also one of the kindest people you'll ever meet. The person who nominated him for Artist of the Month wrote, "The Peel Street Poets really didn't find its feet until Henrik joined the group. His talent as a leader are invaluable to us. It's rare to find someone so talented and such a nice guy. He deserves a lot more credit than he gets. Please recognize him!"

Get to know Henrik below and see if he wins the heart award next Monday at Orange Peel at 8pm. RSVP through this link!


1. Name, Birthplace, Age
Henrik Hoeg, born in Aarhus, Denmark, but I grew up in Hong Kong, 28 years old.

2. How does where you were raised affect your work?
Being raised in Hong Kong has a huge effect on my work. For example I've written numerous poems about Hong Kong but not a single one about Cairo, though that could be coincidence or crippling fear of pyramids I suppose. I tend to write humorous and flippant poetry, which is almost certainly a reflection of an easy upper-middle-class upbringing in a safe environment full of privilege. The kind of childhood that hurtles one towards narcissistic self-obsession, inevitable solipsism and opening a porcupine-only petting zoo at the age of 40. 

3. Where did you train?
I trained with an ancient order of Viking scholars on the ice-fields of Svalbard. There were two of us in training that winter, and as neophyte poets we were required to speak only in puns for the first two years or else be frozen at the stake. The ancient master asked me if I thought my companion would survive the two years and I said "No, biennial be dead". Two weeks later I was proved correct when the other trainee accidentally said "hello" without any possible context for a pun. I've intended to avenge his death ever since, but I've just been busy and stuff, you know?
4. What is your favorite style of poetry? Why?
I like haikus best, 
because they are easiest, 
see what I did there?
I actually like reading poetry that is very different to my own, I like tightly rhyming poems with grand themes. Stuff like 'Auguries of Innocence' by William Blake, or 'The Darkling Thrush' by Thomas Hardy, which is my favorite poem. I don't write anything like that, but I love reading it. 
Poetry takes on totally different qualities when listened to however, and every week I'm blown away by something brought to the table at Peel Street. Hong Kong has ridiculous poetry chops. I guess my favorite style is read-aloud-at an-open-mic, which is an emerging genre most comparable to nu-core elevator funk.
5. What was the best show you EVER saw?
There are several shows that are up there for best. I'm a sucker for Cirque du Soleil style shows in particular. The show that stands out to me however was seeing Dylan live in Glasgow almost a decade ago. Dylan's show was by no means technical or artistically the best I've witnessed, but that was irrelevant to me and forgivable since the man tours non-stop and was already 66 when I saw him play. It was however very meaningful to me to get to see him live. On the train back to Edinburgh after the show we could overhear conversations all around from people complaining, mostly about Dylan's voice, having expected the show to match preconceptions they had based on albums made 40 years prior. I however sat on that train in a happy little stupor having seen one of my idols. In an extremely subjective contrived way that was the best show, for me.

6. What was the best show in HK you EVER saw? 
The best show I ever saw in Hong Kong was an improvised political modern interpretive dance piece by hundreds of thousands of students and citizens last fall. I'm not sure if that will come across as a cop-out answer. Walking through the streets of Hong Kong as they were shut down in protest, seeing the little bits of art being created along the highway stretches was genuinely very impressive and moving. It was in my mind the best show Hong Kong ever put on.

7.What piece of work are you the most proud of?
I have a poem called 'Don't Move to Finland' that I almost always read as an opener if I'm performing somewhere for the first time because it gets good laughs. I'm very proud of that one. I'm also very proud of the first publication I ever had to my name, which was in East Lit:

8. What is your process like?
I tend to write single lines and then hamfistedly work them into poems. My phone is chock full of notes and as yet unused one-liners. I then scour them every Wednesday before open mics nights to try and tie them into a cogent poem, or, failing that, a non-sensical poem that I can play off as high-minded satire and/or/of deconstructivitismtology.
9. What is your dream project?
My only dream related project is a scheme I have to catch dreams, with some kind of astral bear-trap but for dreams. Then I will waterboard dreams in a secret facility in an Eastern European country and find out what they know. I will write poetry from their confessions. 

10. If you could change one thing about the art scene in HK, what would it be?
I'd replace every art gallery on Hollywood Road with a bookstore. The posh art gallery to decent bookstore ratio in this town has a known carcinogenic effect, think of the children. Although I should probably just get with the times and buy a Kindle.


  • Graham
    02 September 2015

    Congratulations Henrik.

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