Merja-Riitta Stenroos was born in an agricultural and working-class community on the outskirts of Helsinki. She is bilingual, but writes in Swedish. In the late 1980s, she moved to Scotland, where she studied Celtic and obtained a PhD in medieval English.
She made her debut in 1981 with Guldgrävarens tårar (P), which was followed by Fri marknad (P), 1983. Her poetry freely follows on from the 1970s’ poets, who liked to mark out their opposition to the social-ideological dogma of older intellectuals. Her poems are characterised by formal certitude, occasionally tinged with romanticised defiance. In 1985, she published the poetry collection Kanariefågel blues, which is more open towards the world around. She discussed the question of individual commitment versus non-committal observation in the periodical KLO, which Merja-Riittaa Stenroos also edited for a period of time.
Additions by the editorial team 2011:
The above biography was first published in 1998. Since then, Merja-Riitta Stenroos has published the books Tända och tända, 1998, and Fatima av tusen kyssar, 2000.