The Star by My Head
The Star by My Head (back cover)

The Star by My Head

Poets from Sweden
“An extraordinary gift.” —ROBERT HASS
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Published in partnership with the Poetry Foundation, this breathtaking anthology features eight of Sweden’s most highly regarded poets.

From Edith Södergran to Gunnar Ekelöf to Nobel Prize-winning Tomas Tranströmer, Sweden has long been home to a rich and luminous poetic tradition, notable for refreshing openness, striking honesty, and a rare transcendence that often springs from a keen attention to the natural world. In the poems of The Star by My Head, which begin in the early twentieth century and come up to the present day, pinecones cluster out of reach and lilacs attempt their tentative rebirth each year. A bee makes a face like a newborn’s. A name etched in vapor on a windowpane, and its erasure, brings happiness.

 With exquisite translations by internationally acclaimed poets and translators Malena Mörling and Jonas Ellerström offered alongside the Swedish originals, The Star by My Head is an essential bilingual volume and the premiere American anthology of its kind.

Publish Date
5.5 × 8.5 × 0.56 in
10 oz

Malena Mörling

Malena Mörling is the author of two collections of poems, Ocean Avenue and Astoria. One of Tomas Tranströmer’s best translators into English, she is co-translator of The Star By My Head: Poets from Sweden. She is on the faculty of the Low-Residency MFA program at New England College and is Associate Professor of Creative Writing at the University of North Carolina, Wilmington.


Jonas Ellerström

Jonas Ellerström is one of the most distinguished independent publishers in Sweden today. A writer and critic, he is also an acclaimed translator of authors such as William Blake, Arthur Rimbaud, and T.S. Eliot. With Malena Mörling, he is co-translator of The Star By My Head: Poets from Sweden.

Praise and Prizes

  • “Any book contextualizing the sheer brilliance and intense interiority of a tradition that includes Södergran, Ekelöf, and Tranströmer is bound to be an extraordinary gift, especially coming from the hands of a gifted poet and translator like Malena Mörling.”

    Robert Hass
  • “Poets like these make us stop and look at the rooftops of our own streets, at park benches and balconies and see—well, they give us permission to see—wonder instead of destruction, grace instead of despair, a wooing whisper instead of mere ironic talking, clarity instead of the vague and sardonic assumptions that are so common in contemporary American poetry. This book won’t just tell us something about Swedish poetry, it will help us to see ourselves in a new way.”

    Ilya Kaminsky
  • The Star by My Head provides an excellent introduction to the tradition of Modern lyric Swedish poets, poetry, and how their tradition has transformed, carried on, and influenced the world of poetry. This anthology will help influence an even greater English-speaking audience.”

    Poetry International
  • “This is a selection splendidly edited to highlight the history of what is Swedish about Swedish poetry, without avoiding the obvious fact that the younger poets are influenced by many other poetries, mostly American. The stark delight of luminous starlit nights and emotional landscapes makes this a compelling journey.”

    Andrei Codrescu