Mikko-Olavi Seppälä & Riitta Seppälä: Aale Tynni. Hymyily, kyynel, laulu [Aale Tynni. A smile, a tear, a song]

16 January 2014 | Mini reviews, Reviews

tynniAale Tynni. Hymyily, kyynel, laulu
[Aale Tynni. A smile, a tear, a song]
Helsinki: WSOY, 2013. 488 pp., ill.
ISBN 978-951-0-38306-3
€37, hardback

The poet, author and translator Aale Tynni (1913–1997), an Ingrian Finn who came to Finland as a refugee after the First World War in 1919, published 15 collections of poetry between 1938 and 1987. Among her translations are works by Ibsen, Shakespeare, Yeats and Racine. This extensive biography, compiled and written by Tynni’s daughter Riitta Seppälä and her grandson, historian Mikko-Olavi Seppälä, is an in-depth, lively portrait of a poet who, in her time, was both admired and criticised for her choices of form and content. Tynni felt that classical metrical tradition was closest to her, and patriotism was one of her themes; however, in the postwar years the freedom of rhythm of Finnish modernism began to flourish, and politics also gained strength in the literary world. In 1948 Tynni won the gold medal for literature in the – rather bizarre and short-lived – art competitions at the Summer Olympics in London with her poem ‘Laurel of Hellas’. Tynni experienced dramatic turns in her personal life; she underwent a prolonged divorce from her first husband who bitterly fought it. Two of her three children committed suicide in adulthood. She was finally free to marry the widowed poet Martti Haavio (aka P. Mustapää) in 1960, a marriage of soulmates that lasted until Haavio’s death in 1973.


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