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A grook ("gruk" in Danish) is a form of short aphoristic poem. It was initially presented by the Danish poet and scientist Piet Hein, who wrote over 7000 of them, mostly in Danish or English. They have been published in 20 volumes. Some say that the name is short for "GRin & sUK" ("laugh & sigh" in Danish), but Piet Hein said he felt that the word had come out of thin air. The contemporary "Hunden Grog" (Grog the Dog) stories by fellow cartoonist Storm P. has, in public opinion, been regarded as an inspiration.
Piet Hein's gruks first started to appear in the daily newspaper "Politiken" shortly after the Nazi Occupation in April 1940 under the signature Kumbel Kumbell. The poems were meant as a spirit-building, yet slightly coded form of passive resistance. The grooks are characterized by irony, paradox, brevity, precise use of language, sophisticated rhythms and rhymes, and an often satiric nature.
THE ROAD TO WISDOM
The road to wisdom?—Well, it's
plain and simple to express:
and err again,
— Piet Hein
- Hicks, Jim (14 October 1966). "A Poet with a Slide Rule: Piet Hein Bestrides Art and Science". Life 51 (16): 55–66. ISSN 0024-3019.