Edith Södergran

Edith Södergran was born in St. Petersburg to Finland-Swedish parents in 1892. The family moved to the Finnish village of Raivola, in what was then a part of the Russian Empire and nowadays is part of Russia, when Edith was only a few months old. Later she attended the German High School of St. Petersburg, returning home to Raivola during the school holidays. Her education, obviously, was in German, and her earliest poems are almost all written in that language. Her mature work is written in Swedish.

Södergran’s father died of tuberculosis in 1907 and Edith contracted the disease herself in 1908. She spent much of the following five years in sanatoria in Finland and Switzerland. The struggle against disease and the strength to overcome its debilitating effects are a recurring theme in her work. Another important influence was the intense and mystical relationship she had with nature and the entire universe.

– from Mike Horwood’s introduction in MPT 3/12 Freed Speech