Marie Lundquist

Marie Lundquist was born in Jönköping, Sweden in 1950. She studied to be a librarian at Borås Academy and graduated in 1976 with a thesis on contemporary Swedish poetry. She then worked as a librarian for fifteen years. During this time, thanks to a photography course in Denmark, she came into contact with writers who were interested in her poetry, and this resulted in her poems first being published in Danish translation. Lundquist’s first volume of poetry, »Jag går runt och samlar in min trädgård för natten« (t: I walk around and gather my garden before night), came out in 1992. The poems straddle the borders of prose and poetry. They are short texts devoid of line breaks, which present states of mind and worlds of feeling: individually read, they resemble momentary snapshots or word games; together, they create a narrative. A relationship slowly comes to an end. In the same time, the motif of the absent mother is also present, a theme that resurfaces in the author’s subsequent work. The early collection was awarded the Poetry Prize by the journal »Lyrikvännen« and was praised for its economy of language and stylistic confidence.

Since this time Lundquist has focused on her writing, establishing herself as a unique voice in Swedish poetry. In under three years she published three volumes in her characteristic prose composition, which is already striking in its graphic forms. The »stanzas« of the poems lie as individual, closed blocks of text at the top of the pages, and the figures on the jackets are painstakingly chosen by the author. A preference for the form, appearance and phonetics of words runs through Lundquist’s work, in which different genres converge ever more explicitly. In »En fabel skriven på stenar« (1999; t: A fable written on stones) the author falls back on traditional poetic forms with line breaks. In later works her texts get closer to prose. Lundquist’s seventh and most recent book, »Monolog för en ensam kvinna« (2005; t: Monologue for a lonely woman), is declared a »story« in its subtitle. It depicts a woman who looks back on her mother’s suicide and focuses on themes of solitude, death and loss.

Over the past few years the author has also written plays for Swedish radio and was awarded the Literature Prize of the Swedish Drama Association for a piece entitled »Mammor får inte dö« (2005; t: Mothers should not die). Further honours include the Literature Prize from the newspaper »VI« and the Swedish Radio Poetry Prize. Lundquist’s work has been translated into several languages. The author also works as a cultural journalist and as a lecturer in creative writing. She currently teaches on the writing programme at the University of Göteborg. She lives in Stockholm.

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