Magli Elster became popular and successful through her controversial, candid love poems in Med hilsen fra natten, 1953. She was born in Oslo and grew up in Oslo, Kviteseid, and Paris, was the daughter of the well-known poet Aslaug Vaa and the philologist and psychologist Ola Rakness. She herself was a practising psychoanalyst as well as a translator and literary critic. From 1960 to 1970 she was head of the Norwegian Critic’s Association. She was married to the writer and former television and radio chief Torolf Elster and had two children.
Magli Elster made her debut in 1952 with the upbeat poetry collection Trikken går i engen, in which she uses language in a free form to rejoice directly in existence and the sexual encounter. Her later works included Den syngende flåten (P), 1955, En pike af tre (P), 1959, and Sekundene (P), 1971.