Sabitha Söderholm

- Denmark -

Danish poet Sabitha Söderholm (born in Tamil Nadu, India in 1989) burst onto the poetic scene in 2022 with not one but two published works in her debut year, with the first being Chellam and Månens Urt (The Moons Herb). Söderholm graduated from The Royal Danish Academy of Fine Arts in 2022 and received recognition with Blixenprisen (Blixen Award) in 2023 where she won the award as talent of the year, and with nominations for BogforumsDebutantpris and Poesiens Pris, both in 2022.


Söderholm has besides her two mentioned publications made the short film Wreath of Jasmine (2021), which is available on Youtube, and have written the essay Hvis jeg ogsåkunne skrive om liljekonval (If I could also write about the lily of the valley, 2021).

Söderholms Indian background appears prominently in her first authorial venture in Chellam, where she juggles with Indian mythology, colourful aesthetics, Danish colonial history and a search for identity in the relationality of origin in Tamil Nadu. Chellam constitutes itself through an I, the poet, who meets her birthmother in India, and in a balancing act between prose and poetry, she reflects on the role of motherhood and material and bodily connections to the earth as evidenced in the beginning: “Salt crystal, salt crystal is buried in their organs and under their skin.” and shortly after “Salt crystal, salt crystal / over the soil of the fields / under the women’s feet / under the women’s skin”. The above carries over to a nurturing atmosphere which metaphorically connects the nurturing nature of motherhood to a planetary nurturing: “Dear child / this is a pantry / I will attempt to give you landscapes / that which grows here is ours”.


It’s not without its toll on the body and mind to be without a place and identity, and the switch between prose and poetry, which underscores the poets need for meaningful belonging, mirrors the poet’s frayed connection to her birthplace and to her surroundings; the form evinces the need yet difficulty in fitting in, culturally and anthropocentric. 


Both of Söderholms publications seek a sense of community and exemplifies that Söderholmhas found inspiration in Audre Lorde, where Söderholm uses a sensual and vulnerable lyrical approach to write forth a community through a voice of womanly minority.