Martti Anhava: Romua rakkauden valtatiellä. Arto Mellerin elämä [Garbage on the highway of love. The life of Arto Melleri]

10 November 2011 | Mini reviews, Reviews

Romua rakkauden valtatiellä. Arto Mellerin elämä
[Garbage on the highway of love. The life of Arto Melleri]
Helsinki: Otava, 2011. 687 p., ill.
ISBN 976-951-1-23700-6
€ 36, hardback

Arto Melleri (1956–2005) has been called the last Finnish bohemian poet. At the age of 35, he received the Finlandia Prize for a collection of poetry entitled Elävien kirjoissa (‘In the books of the living’) as well as an invitation to the Independence Day celebrations at the Presidential Palace, from which he was thrown out. The literary editor Martti Anhava traces his friend’s life from his schooldays in Ostrobothnia to his turbulent life in Helsinki. There are interviews with family members, friends, writers, musicians, theatre-makers; Melleri wound up studying dramaturgy at the Theatre Academy. The year 1978 saw the presentation of Melleri, Jukka Asikainen and Heikki Vuento’s play Nuorallatanssijan kuolema eli kuinka Pete Q sai siivet (‘The death of a tightrope walker or how Pete Q got wings’). Breaking completely with the mainstream political theatre of the 1970s, it became a cult show. The last volume by this poet of bold, often cruelly romantic visions was Arpinen rakkauden soturi (‘The scarred soldier of love’, 2004).
Translated by Hildi Hawkins

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