Written in blood

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The Finnish-Swedish poet Edith Södergran (1892-1923) stands as the great gateway figure to lyrical modernism in the Nordic region. But how can one more precisely characterize Södergran's poetic method? This book shows that an intense attention to the body and a sensuous idiom are at the center of Södergran's pioneering modernist poetry. In his poetic language for the erotic, Södergran extensively uses terms, expressions and metaphors with reference to the body. She unfolds a special lyrical language, a "rhetoric of the body", where she utilizes the human body's own register of expression. Södergran's poems are, in her own words, "Written with blood". Here, a figure from the sphere of the body is used to depict the poetic creation. This metaphor expresses Södergran's poetic practice in concentrated form. She strives to create an expressive language in which a bodily force can be conveyed in the poem.
Written with blood reveals Södergran's special body poetic method based on close readings of her five poetry collections. In perspective, it shows how five Danish 1980s and 1990s poets: Pia Tafdrup, Søren Ulrik Thomsen, Michael Strunge, Pia Juul and Kirsten Hammann further develop a modernist tradition of a language for the body and the erotic.