Edith Södergran

Edith Södergran
  • Born: 4. April 1892
  • Died: 24. July 1923
  • Lived in: Finland, Russia
  • Wrote in: Swedish

Edith Irene Södergran was a Swedish-speaking Finnish poet. One of the first modernists within Swedish-language literature, her influences came from French symbolism, German expressionism, and Russian futurism. She was also greatly inspired by the writings of philosopher Friedrich Nietzsche.

Having contracted tuberculosis as a teenager, she died aged 31. However, she remains a great influence for many lyric poets. Gustaf Munch-Petersen, among others, found her a great source of inspiration.

Her poetry is passionate and intense with mystical overtones. Considering the story of her life, this is unsurprising. Growing up in St. Petersburg she had to flee to Finland during the Russian Revolution, while being sick. She was ill for well over half of her life, and some of her poems were written in a state of seeming trabce brought about by fever.

As short and hard as her life was, her poetry has proven timeless and endurable. It is still very possible to relate to it today since she describes common emotions and thoughts, though sometimes clad in mystic and/or self-invented phrases. It stands forever as testament to the strength of her will, the brightness of her intelligence and the passionate intensity of her emotions.

Poems

The September Lyre

The Rose Altar

The Shadow of the Future

The Land Which Is Not