Grooks 1–5

Grooks 1 2 3 4 5 piet heinGrooks 1–5 by Piet Hein, with the assistance of Jens Arup, 5/5

Poetry doesn’t come more witty, concise and hilarious than the gems found in this collection, which contains just a small sample of the over 7000 “grooks” written by Danish polymath Piet Hein.

Here are a couple of my favourite examples from the first book:

Consolation Grook

Losing one glove
is certainly painful,
but nothing
     compared to the pain
of losing one,
throwing away the other,
and finding
     the first one again.


The Road to Wisdom

The road to wisdom? — Well, it’s plain
and simple to express:
                   and err
                   and err again
                   but less
                   and less
                   and less.


Sadly, these books are long out of print and, since little information is available about the different versions that were published in Denmark, Canada and the U.S., it is a confusing task to try to assemble a matching set.  I settled for Doubleday editions from the mid-1960s to early-1970s and was able to buy the books individually from AbeBooks (relying on ISBNs, not cover images, which were often missing or incorrect).

[Why I read it: the first three books were a random find at the thriftstore and I passed them along to my brother after enjoying them.  Years later, I happened to be visiting him and saw these books on the shelf.  They were so funny a second time that I decided to buy a complete set for myself.]

The gallery below contains large images of the front covers, so you can get a feel better feel for the artwork and style of poetry:




  1. hectorchadwick

    Do you happen to know which volume ‘A Psychological Tip’ (the poem about spinning a penny) was published in? I’m trying to track it down so I can reference it correctly.


Your Thoughts

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in: Logo

You are commenting using your account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s

This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.