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Malena Mörling

Malena Mörling

Malena Mörling was born in Stockholm in 1965, and grew up in southern Sweden. She has graduate degrees from New York University and the University of Iowa Writers' Workshop. Her translations of the Swedish poet Tomas Tranströmer appeared in his book, For the Living and the Dead, published in 1995 by Ecco Press. She is also the author of Astoria (Pitt Poetry Series). Her poems have been published in Ploughshares, Boulevard, Third Coast, Marlboro Review, New England Review, Mudfish, and Countermeasures. In 2007 she was awarded a John Simon Guggenheim Foundation Fellowship and in 2007-08 she was a Research Associate at the School For Advanced Research, in Santa Fe, New Mexico. She is currently Assistant Professor in the Department of Creative Writing at The University of North Carolina, Wilmington and Core Faculty in The Low Residency MFA program at New England College.

Also by Malena Mörling


Ocean Avenue

Ocean AvenueOcean Avenue

$12.00 paper | $22.00 cloth | 75 pages
ISBN: 978-0-932826-68-8 (paper)
ISBN: 978-0-932826-70-1 (cloth)
Publication Date: March 1999
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Winner of the 1998 New Issues Poetry Prize

The poet's sense of wonder is contagious whether she views the world from her seat on a train, from the window of her apartment, or from the streets of the city. Through a subtle, mediated surrealism, Mörling reins in the urban landscapes of New York, drawing the reader into her meditations on the temporal and the spatial, on language itself.

"Like a modern-day Whitman the poet loiters at her ease, in her case, among the crowds of Grand Central Station 'a little ecstatic/from looking up at the constellations / in the green and gold ceiling.' Listening 'to the skinny violinist play Paganini' she stands still, letting the music touch her and feels 'the whole station inside' her awareness. Thus it is also a book of enormous calm; indeed, I cannot think of another collection of contemporary poetry more conscious of our need for the violence of continual change and more at peace in the center of that violence. . .This is poetry whose aim is no less than to recall us to what Wallace Stevens regarded as the greatest gift of creation: to live in a physical universe."
        —Philip Levine

"Malena Mörling's poems lend new perspectives about what it is to see and hear and wonder, about what it is to be alive."
        —Michael Burkard

"Mörling is deeply aware of the moment of 'passing through' and it informs her poetry. Ocean Avenue is subtle, lovely, and original."
        —Gerald Stern



In the shape of a human body
I am visiting the earth;
the trees visit
in the shapes of trees.
Standing between the onions
and the dandelions
near the ailanthus and the bus stop,
I don’t live more thoroughly
inside the mucilage of my own skull
than outside of it
and not more behind my eyes
than in what I can see with them.
I inhale whatever air
the grates breathe in the street.
My arms and legs still work,
I can run if I have to
or sit motionless purposefully
until I am here and I am not here
the way death is present
in things that are alive
like salsa music
and the shrill laughter of the bride
as she leaves the wedding
or the bald child playing jacks
outside the wigshop.