Reading Swedish Poetry

Taking another plunge, this past week I threw myself into trying to read “real” Swedish poetry again. By “real,” I mean poems that were written in Swedish by native speakers for an audience of native speakers. In other words, not poems that are simplified to help me pick up Swedish faster. I broke out a book of poems by Edith Södergran, curled up with a good cup of kaffe, and went to town. It probably helped that I had read these poems sparingly in college, but nonetheless I fell right back into the rhythm of her poetry and did not struggle to understand everything. It was a great moment to read a poem aloud and realize that, no, this is not part of your educational course, and you still understand everything that was written!

pile of old books

Photo by Rosetta Stone

If you wish to take a stab at it yourself and want a great Swedish challenge, try out the Södergran poem below—it’s one of my favorites, and it’ll give you a very brief taste of what formal Swedish sounded like at the turn of the 20th century.

Click here to read the poem!

Learn more about Rosetta Stone Swedish here.

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Sean Holmquest

Sean Holmquest is a web producer based in Brooklyn, New York. He has worked as a freelance film editor and writer, held positions with an independent music artist and a Hollywood production company, and written and directed several short, experimental films. Sean holds a bachelor’s degree in literary arts from Brown University. During college, he spent a semester abroad in Stockholm, Sweden, taking classes in Swedish film, art, and architecture. In his spare time, he enjoys playing the bassoon, impersonating Gilda Radner, spontaneously registering for marathons, and making his own pizza.
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