Archive for June, 1978

Sensitivity session

Issue 2/1978 | Archives online, Fiction, Prose

An extract from the novel Ja pesäpuu itki (‘And the nesting-tree wept’). Introduction by Pekka Tarkka

Taito Suutarinen knew quite a bit about Freud. Where Mannerheim’s statue now stands, Taito felt that there ought instead to be an equestrian statue of Sigmund Freud. It would be like truth revealed.

Freud, urging on his trusty stallion Libido, would be clad from head to foot in sexual symbols – hat, trousers, shoes: one hand thrust deep into his pocket, the other grasping a walking-stick. The stick would point eloquently in the direction of the railway tracks, where the red trains slid into the arching womb of the station.

Taito had also attended a couple of seven-day sensitivity training courses, where people expressed their feelings openly, directly and spontaneously. By the end of the first course Taito was so direct and spontaneous that he couldn’t get on with anybody. By the end of the second he was so open that everyone was embarrassed. Every member of the group had cried at least once, except the group leader. Never before had Taito witnessed such power. He could not wait to found a group of his own. Taito’s group met in a basement room, where they reclined on mattresses to assist the liberation process. Everyone was free to have problems, quite openly. You were not regarded as ill: on the contrary, if you realized your problem you were more healthy than a person who still thought he mattered. Moreover, as Taito, fixing you with his piercing gaze, was always careful to emphasize, every problem was ultimately a sexual problem. Taito would spontaneously scratch his crotch as he spoke, making it clear that he himself had virtually no problems left. More…

On Matti Pulkkinen

Issue 2/1978 | Archives online, Authors

Matti Pulkkinen

Matti Pulkkinen. Photo: Gummerus

Matti Pulkkinen’s grandfather was born in 1842 in a forest village close to the Russian border, in an area which could only be reached by water. When he grew up he became a tar-burner, a traditional occupation in north-east Finland. Pulkkinen’s father worked for the Otava Publishing Company in the early years of the present century, a time when ordinary Finns were beginning to show a real interest in literature. In his home in one of the most remote parts of North Karelia, he assembled a library which ranged from Mark Twain to the detective stories of G. K. Chesterton. He was 70 when his youngest son, Matti, was born in 1944. Dostoyevsky and Nietzsche were the two writers whose works did most to stimulate Matti Pulkkinen’s enthusiasm for literature. After leaving school he set out to see the world. He worked as a lumberjack, a primary school teacher, a statistics clerk in a gynaecological hospital, a bank teller, an accounts clerk, and later as a carpenter, took part in the restoration of the medieval church at Vanaja. From 1969 to 1971 Pulkkinen worked as a nurse in mental hospitals in Frankfurt, West Berlin and Bern. While in Switzerland he became interested in Jungian psychology and modern group therapy.

Pulkkinen’s novel, Ja pesäpuu itki (‘And the nesting-tree wept’, Gummerus), published in 1977, was awarded the J.H. Erkko Prize for the best first novel of the year and the Kalevi Jäntti Memorial Prize. It rapidly became a best seller and has already had two reprints. More…

Meetingplace the year

Issue 2/1978 | Archives online, Fiction, poetry

Poems from Kohtaamispaikka vuosi (‘Meetingplace the year’, 1977). Introduction by Mirjam Polkunen


I look in from the gateway
                         there are children, there in the yard playing.
They look small from here, remote.
                                              From the years
I have walked past this gateway,
there they are: five, six.
                                              The same number.
They have a ball in the air, they yell at it.
Silly that I still here too
                                              remember you,
I could be the same age now.


On Mirkka Rekola

Issue 2/1978 | Archives online, Authors

Mirkka Rekola. Photo: Elina Laukkarinen/WSOY

The very title of Mirkka Rekola‘s latest collection of poems, Kohtaamispaikka vuosi (‘Meetingplace the year’, Werner Söderström, 1977), reveals a theme central to Rekola’s poetry: that of unity. The time is the place. ‘I do not imagine I shall meet you this year. / This place will be here in summer.’ Rekola has a particular way of using language of the most intense concentration, so that it brings out unity between a wide variety of moods. ‘I shall meet you this year’ also means that you are this year. ‘This place will be here in the summer’ means that it is autumn and this place (a summer café) will remain deserted until the summer, but also that this place will remain there as the summer.

‘The world, a table already laid, there you see your hunger.’ ‘At the same time a little thirsty and a cowberry.‘ The correspondence of place, the synchrony of season and the general sense of undividedness produce countless pictorial and therefore concrete expressions throughout Rekola’s poetry. ‘I spread my hands / and someone yawned, / I held my fingertips in the breeze / and the boats slid into the water.’ ‘The child said to the old man: you are bent, while I am so little.’ ‘A shout is heard which is no other’s.’ Rekola’s concrete and graphical mode of expression is also based on the same philosophy: ‘Do not make a picture, everything is [a picture]’. ‘The sun, star of the night, introduces the day. And the world is so talkative in its dreams.’ More…