In memoriam Mirkka Rekola 1931–2014
The poet and author Mirkka Rekola died on 5 February at the age of 82. From 1954 onwards she has written aphorisms, essays and 18 collections of poetry. Rekola was awarded many literary prizes, among them the Eino Leino prize (1979), the Finland prize (Suomi-palkinto, 1995) and the Dancing Bear poetry prize (1997). Her intellectual, linguistically brilliant poetry was not easy to translate – however, translations have appeared in Swedish, German, French, Hungarian, English and Macedonian.
The poet and translator Herbert Lomas wrote in his introduction to Rekola’s collection Valekuun reitti (‘The path of a false moon’) in 2004: ‘Mirkka Rekola was a minimalist before minimalism was invented.’ Her poems are, he said, ‘moments of crossing an edge towards an intenser awareness of the universe’s continuum, requiring us to wake up from sleep, as we do at times of heightened consciousness and love.’
At first light I put my hand in the hollow of a white willow – once someone's cigarette box had been left there – now a bird flew out going seaward.
Touch of a wingquill on the back of my hand. It flew higher. In the evening I felt its touch on my shoulder blade.
From Valekuun reitti, translated by Herbert Lomas
About the writer
Soila Lehtonen is a journalist and theatre critic, and currently Editor-in-Chief of Books from Finland. She has edited a collection of writings about the city of Helsinki together with Hildi Hawkins, Helsinki: a literary companion (The Finnish Literature Society, 2000). Hildi Hawkins is a writer and translator, and the London Editor of Books from Finland. She is also the co-editor of things, a journal of writings about objects, their pasts, presents and futures.
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