Archive for September, 2000
An English translation by Anselm Hollo of Runo XI from Kalevala 1999, Kai Nieminen’s new translation of the national epic (1849), into contemporary Finnish. Interview with Kai Nieminen by Anselm Hollo
But now it is time to tell about Lemminkäinen, a.k.a. Ahti the Islander. Young Ahti was handsome and cheerful. His mother raised him on the shores of a headland where he went fishing, ate fish and grew up strong smart and straight. But his character had a flaw: a womanizer is what he became, our Lemminkäinen (also known as Wandering Mind). He spent his days chasing the girls, his nights making love to them.
Poems from Rakkaus tuli kun lähdin maan ääriin (‘Love came when I left for the ends of the earth’, Tammi, 2000). Introduction by Helena Sinervo
metaxy, like summer
The moon strokes boulders
Left warm by the day, examines
The granite, passion gone tepid
Descends from its solitude
Into sea-carved channels More…
From the collection of short prose Hyväkuntoisena taivaaseen (‘Getting to heaven in good shape’, Tammi, 1999)
I had agreed to meet Death at the Assembly Rooms in the centre of Helsinki. Seldom has an interview made me feel so nervous beforehand. Luckily, this gave me a good reason to cancel an appointment with my dentist. (Although of course I know that in the end I shall have to go there myself.)
It is customary to regard Death as a man who is not affected by the whims of fashion. Thus it is surprising to hear that Death is particularly concerned about his public image. ‘In public, I am considered stern and unbending. Unchanging and therefore uncontrollable,’ Death thunders. ‘This is not at all accurate. Fortunately, people understand me better when I am at work. More…
An extract from the novel Mariposa (Schildts, 1999)
Roza and Melancholie were sitting in a bar drinking beer. They hadn’t met for a long time because they bored each other. But they were best friends nonetheless. What do you do when you can’t stand meeting your best friend? You switch on your answerphone and tell lies. Today by mistake one of them had answered the phone.
Roza was dressed in her brother Armand’s old clothes, a bad habit which irritated people but which she found hard to break. Her brother had vanished long ago leaving his clothes behind. They smelled of tobacco and sweat. Roza used them to keep him alive. She could spend whole evenings going through his wardrobe. There was a dress shirt, not that you’d have expected it.
The two young women studied each other. Melancholie noted that Roza had bitten down her cuticles again.
‘How’s life?’ she asked.
‘So-so. And you?’ More…