Rydstedt, Anna

Anna Rydstedt's place in the world was the south of Öland, with the village of her birth, Ventlinge, as its centre, surrounded by the great heaths of Alvaret to the east and the blue-grey Kalmarsund with its white wave peaks to the west. Anna Rydstedt (1928-1994) originally wanted to become a priest, but was forced to give up because the Church of Sweden did not yet allow women priests. She graduated and studied to become a folk high school teacher in Lund, and then worked in Eslöv, Denmark, and Stockholm. 
Her debut collection of poems, „Bannlyst prästinna“ (1953), depicts a defiant struggle against misunderstanding and prejudice. In her next three collections, Anna found both her own language and her place in the world, returning to memories of growing up on Öland in the distinctly autobiographical „Jag var ett barn“ (1970). Here, in particular, she deals with the trauma of her mother's death five years earlier.
Anna Rydstedt's published a total of eight collections of poetry and became a critically acclaimed and widely read poet. Her poetry has continued to be urgent, and its ability to educate, comfort and provoke reflection remains undiminished. With her last book, „Kore“ (1994), published the same year Anna Rydstedt died, she returned to the ancient myths and characters that helped her portray the frustration of not being allowed to study theology. To date, her collected poems have been published twice, a biography and a dissertation have been written, and several anthologies and posthumous editions have shown that Anna Rydstedt's unsentimental, earthbound and heaven-bound poetry belongs to the realm of inalienable literature.

Jonas Ellerström