A Second Whisper
"The pictures that Hjelmgaard paints with words are more akin to pale watercolours rather than anything striking in oils, a quiet soundscape of inner thoughts and emotions, and it is this that gives them their strength." - WriteOutLoud
"The two-thirds of these poems which are not about Abse might have constituted a 'dying fall', but this does not happen. There is something shrewd and almost ruthless about Hjelmgaard's understanding of human longings and the limits that confines them." - Artemis
A Second Whisper is a thoughtful and sensitive collection that reflects the changing identities of a woman: in motherhood, in widowhood, in friendship and grief. There are elegies to the loss in 2014 of her mentor and partner, the poet Dannie Abse which are a tribute to their deep friendship. There are also poems to her late husband who died in 2006 and for their children and for relationships from the author’s past in New York City and Denmark. The poems are both elegiac and celebratory: they move and change tone as the author travels to the past and negotiates through the geography of grief and feelings of displacement in London, and finally opens to her new life in the present.
"A Second Whisper is such a beautiful collection that I read it at one stretch. In language whose easy music sounds like thinking, these poems tell the story of a special late love after bereavement, as well as of loves of all kinds, and the very experience of being alive." – Gillian Clarke
"These poems express in lyrically controlled language and rhythms a quietly restless spirit of an "expert at loss". They capture people, places and emotions in the voice of a twice-widowed seeker who is looking to settle or travel after losing a husband and a lover. The poet is content to follow "poetry and Eros" in her search. She mixes pathos with a wry humour. This is a finely tuned collection rooted in the real." – Lawrence Scott