Gunnar Ekelof (September 15, 1907 - March 16, 1968)
Born: 15th September, 1907
Died: 16th March, 1968
Nationality: Swedish poet
Region: Stockholm, Sweden

Gunnar Ekelof Facts

Biography

Gunnar Ekelof, (born Sept. 15, 1907, Stockholm--died March 16, 1968, Sigtuna, Swed.), outstanding Swedish poet and essayist.

Ekelof exerted great influence on his contemporaries. His radically modern style was influenced by such poets as Charles Baudelaire, Arthur Rimbaud, Ezra Pound, and T.S. Eliot. In such poetry from the 1930s as Sent pa jorden (1932; "Late on Earth"), Ekelof was drawn to the Surrealist technique of automatism (the spontaneous release of the subconscious in the creative act), but his work also reflects an interest in musical forms and Oriental mysticism. A student of Oriental languages, Ekelof felt divided between mystical tendencies and rationalism. This conflict is apparent in Farjesang (1941; "Ferry Song") and Non Serviam (1945; "I Will Not Serve"). Central to Ekelof's work is En Molna-elegi (1960; "A Molna Elegy"), published in several earlier versions from the mid-1940s. Its starting point is within the mind of the poet, sitting at Molna dock on a summer day in 1940. Memories from his individual past intermingle with those of history in an endless panorama.

In the 1950s Ekelof turned away from finished compositions to work in fragmentary forms, as in Strountes (1955; "Nonsense"). The last decade of his work is dominated by the Akritas trilogy, Diwan over Fursten av Emgion (1965; "Diwan over the Prince of Emgion"), Sagan om Fatumeh (1966; "The Tale of Fatumeh"; Eng. trans., Selected Poems), and Vagvisare till underjorden (1967; Guide to the Underworld). The trilogy contains Ekelof's finest poetic expression of the simultaneous experience of presence and transitoriness. In 1958 Ekelof became a member of the Swedish Royal Academy.

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