Ragnheiður Erla Björnsdóttir b. 1993 is an Icelandic composer, poet and performer based in Vienna. Her practice centres around research of sound-based elements with language, music and visual art using experimental vocal technique, syllable language and phonetic poetry.


Erla holds an MA in Creative Writing from the University of Iceland and a BA in Composition from the Icelandic Academy of the Arts under the guidance of Hróðmar I. Sigurbjörnsson. She completed exchange studies in Creative Writing at the University of Aberdeen in Scotland in 2017.


Erla is a member of Hlökk, an art ensemble together with Ingibjörg Ýr Skarphéðinsdóttir and Lilja María Ásmundsdóttir. Their album, Hulduhljóð, won the Kraumur Music Awards 2019 and was nominated as the album of the year at the Icelandic Music Awards. Erla was also nominated, with Hróðmar I. Sigurbjörnsson, for the composition of the year for their children's opera, The Seal Woman, at the Icelandic Music Awards.

Other things


Mr. Krüzz had his eyes on me

from the moment I handed him the saddle


he had them follow me during daylight 

linger around me late in the evening


we slept in brown tents and ate potatoes across from each other for six evenings straight


his fingers tasted like wheat (no wonder

I could eat him

for breakfast)

he said: my tooth has been itching 

for a thousand years, and honey,

your hair is growing into the strangest directions

if you keep this up you might catch some of this wild that is going around


for six evenings straight I wondered how human can a man be

if blue is leaking off his shoulder

felt him shake the ground beneath me

stop it! I yelled: we don't beg for love

cause that's dangerous

among other things


he stared at my inner thigh and whispered:

so proud to be associated with someone as cold as you

a real pleasure

A Depiction of a Spurned Lover

he showed up at my door
holding a lullaby in his paw

a gorgeous beast raised
by fathers blue ties gold pins

his sick lungs strangled
he coughed blood on my groin

nailed a surgical mask
to my bathroom wall

he poured salt in my bath
for a healing

I boiled him jelly
from moss

a quarter hour
in a pint of milk

a glass bowlful
of my bare scalp. 


Translated by Meg Matich

Migration / Búferli

We take off on a halcyon day
clumsily packed

fingers, frozen
our bodies
from him

jettison the remnants
remove all traces

scour ourselves

the house adorned
in guilt tumult

but we arise
sigh light 

as if he has never touched mom

as if we are whole


Translated by Meg Matich