Archive for March, 1980

Hilda Husso

Issue 1/1980 | Archives online, Fiction, Prose

A short story from Kun on tunteet (‘When you have feelings’,1913). Introduction by Irmeli Niemi

A Phone call between Hotels

‘Hello – is that the Francesca?’

‘— — —’

‘I’d like to speak to Mr Aksel Lundqvist, the maître d’hotel, if it’s possible, please.’

‘— — —’

‘Oh, I see, that is Mr Lundqvist. I’m ringing from the Iris Hotel. It’s Hilda Husso here – do you remember me, Mr Lundqvist?’

‘— — —’

‘I used to be at Ekbom’s, as a cleaner, in the Brasserie, and I got pregnant – it was a boy, you may remember?’

‘— — —’

‘Hello, what was that, I can’t hear?’ More…

Money, Morals and Love

Issue 1/1980 | Archives online, Authors

Maria Jotuni

Maria Jotuni. Photo: Atelier Nyblin / CC-BY-4.0

Maria Jotuni‘s reputation as a writer rests on her daring and highly individual portrayals of women and on her gifts as a dramatist. Her works concentrate on analyses of the human condition, the contradictions, the frustrations, the fantasies. As the creative ‘observer’ she is both deeply sympathetic and ruthlessly revealing.

Maria Jotuni, whose centenary is celebrated this year, grew up in the eastern Finnish province of Savo and her early work draws richly on that background for subject matter and local colour. Her style, which over the years was honed and polished into a unique form of expression, certainly owes something to the lilting rhythms of the Savo dialect – and something to the lyricism of the Finnish Bible, with which she was familiar from her earliest years. Maria Haggrén, as she was born, was the second of six children; they lived in Kuopio, the home town of J. V. Snellman (1806–81), a man who did much to formulate the Finnish national identity, and of Minna Canth (1844–97), one of Finland’s major woman writers. The Haggréns were not wealthy, but they believed strongly in the pursuit of learning and knowledge. The home also provided a fruitful contact with rural life with opportunities to listen to the chatter and tales of the farm boys and servant girls. More…


Issue 1/1980 | Archives online, Fiction, poetry

Poems from Kallista on ja halvalla menee (‘It comes dear and it’s going cheap’,1975) and Reviirilaulu (‘Territorial song’, 1978). Introduction by Pentti Saaritsa


A seagull shadow flitters across the gulf of the courtyard
over the gone-sour yellow wall
ogreish and swift as an execution by hanging,
that’s how I’m dangling
from this moment in this city
my ankle in the strangling noose
in the night under the jangling stars while over the roofs
a sheetmetal moon’s rising
and blurred dreams are yawning in a thousand windows,
down below me the city
and in my breast my heart, it’s socking
like a knuckleduster.


The simplest noise,
the noise of a glass
when you put the glass down
on a wooden table, the sound of wood
on glass
                     is like
a flash of  happiness
on a melancholy face.


On Caj Westerberg

Issue 1/1980 | Archives online, Authors

Caj Westerberg

Caj Westerberg. Photo: Pentti Sammallahti

Caj Westerberg established his reputation with the publication, in 1967, of his first volume of poems: Onnellisesti valittaen (‘Cheerful complaint’). The work was immediately praised for its descriptive power and visual imagery. The other outstanding feature – preserved in subsequent works – is the author’s capacity for emotion, for a passionate involvement in human existence, casting the sensitive individual from the crest of ecstasy to the trough of despair. In Westerberg’s next two collections, Runous (‘Poetry’, 1968) and En minä ole ainoa kerta (‘I am not the only one’, 1969), these key features are firmly sustained. At the same time, Westerberg is beginning to extend the mordancy of his themes. In his fourth book, Uponnut Venetsia (‘Sunken Venice’, 1972), the style has became move conversational and laconic, but does not deviate from his main thematic concerns. Westerberg’s work can be seen as a cool, developing continuum: all the poems, whether long or short, whether aphoristic epitomes of experience or pure ‘imagistic’ visions, convey a unified individual response to the world and existence, and a prevailing intensity. With each publication, brought out as all his earlier works by Otava, Westerberg has developed and enhanced his style. His two most recent works, Kallista on ja halvalla menee (‘It comes dear and it’s going cheap’, 1975) and Reviirilaulu ‘Territorial song’, 1978), have all the marks of works which will become classics. Westerberg’s poems are moving and full of surprising associations; he is both sensitive to the present and alive to the past. His style maintains a fine balance between the conversational and the stylized. Westerberg takes the role of the poet seriously. At a recent conference he put it thus: ‘The poet’s fundamental impulse is to reveal the hidden. That is one of his tasks. That is his folly. The poet is the seer, the prophet, the truth-teller.’

Translated by Mary Lomas