Updated: Apr 26, 2021
David Gislason is known as The Farmer Poet. He wrote a poem for me and recited it at the 2013 Icelandic National League of North America Seattle Convention. Below is a short biography about David and then the poem follows.
David was born near Arborg, Manitoba. He is well known in the Icelandic communities in North America and also in Iceland. He was awarded the Knight’s Cross of the Icelandic Order of the Falcon in 2000, The Order of Manitoba in 2008, and inducted into the Manitoba Hall of Fame in 2009.
David and his late wife, Gladys, were married in 1962 and they celebrated their 50th wedding anniversary a short time before her passing. They have two daughters and now have seven grandchildren.
David pioneered the use of leafcutter bees in Manitoba for the pollination of alfalfa seed fields. He and his wife, Gladys, operated a dairy farm in their earlier days of farming but sold the herd when they expanded the forage seed business. He is a founding member of several seed associations and a bee association.
Photo by Leif Norman http://www.leifnorman.net/
David has written a book, “The Fifth Dimension.” A blurb from the bookseller says:
“The first part consists of poems written by Gislason, the second of his English translations of poems written by Icelandic immigrants and Canadians of Icelandic descent from the late nineteenth century to modern times, and in the third and final section of the collection the reader is presented with Gislason’s translations of poems, written by Icelandic poets throughout several past centuries. At the end of each section, Gislason provides the reader with information on the poets involved, describing also the circumstances leading up to the writing of both his poems and his translations.
The farmer, translator and poet David Gislason from Arborg, Manitoba, has received numerous awards for his cultural and heritage work.”
I was so surprised that such a distinguished and accomplished man would write a poem for me. We first met during the 2010 Þjóðræknisfélag Íslendinga (INL of Iceland) Convention. I gave a presentation about the North Dakota Icelanders and throughout the presentation, I invited everyone to come to North Dakota. Here is David´s tribute poem reminiscing about this first meeting and my presentation:
Won’t you come to North Dakota Where the winter winds may blow? Why not come to North Dakota It’s an awesome place to go.
So forget about the sands of Spain or the halls of Mexico, and just come to North Dakota, Come and see Ms. Furstenau.
Thank you so very much for the poem, David, and yes ….. we love visitors in Legendary North Dakota!