Archive for September, 1989

It is the way it is

Issue 3/1989 | Archives online, Fiction, poetry

Poems. Introduction by Claes Andersson

One never swims out into the same waters
In the light night waits immediately below
One falls like a leaf through the space
of seconds, a wind blows
darkness against your cheek. More…

Between Eros and Thanatos

Issue 3/1989 | Archives online, Authors

Tua Forsström’s poetry is deeply disturbing. Inside her clairvoyant linguistic structures there appear realities and visions that like icons establish a strong and direct link with visions, perceptions, memories, desires and dreams which I myself recognise but which are concealed. Reading her becomes a crossing of borders: I have been in this room before! This reality filled with ambivalence and antagonistic forces, this magnetic field between Eros and Thanatos touches me to the marrow of my experience! More…

The 101-year anniversary celebration

Issue 3/1989 | Archives online, Fiction, Prose

From the collection of short stories, Saksalainen vävy (‘The German son-in-law’) , 1988. Interview by Erkka Lehtola

Järvinen thought he must have turned up at the wrong place when he saw an iron cross on a grey concrete wall. Surely the library couldn’t be holding its celebration here?

He groped in his breast pocket for the map the librarian had sent him. No: there the landmarks were, he’d followed them, he was at the right place.

He drove on a bit and saw there were cars parked behind the building. He parked next to them and got out. All the other cars were shiny, as if they’d just been washed; his was the only dirty one, its chassis a dusty grey. Rosinante came into his head, and he started wondering what Rosinante’s colour was supposed to have been: just the sort of knowledge he could fit in somewhere. Grey, he guessed – just as General Sandels’ horse in the Runeberg poem was white. And what colour was Pegasus? Didn’t know that either – it hadn’t ever even occurred to him to wonder. Almost certainly it would be there in the mythology. More…

Life and letters

Issue 3/1989 | Archives online, Authors, Interviews

Meeting grey-suited Jarkko Laine on a Helsinki street, few would guess that he is a poet. His black briefcase seems more likely to contain accounts and computer printouts than Chinese poems or short stories by Raymond Carver. Few would imagine, either, that this friendly, smiling, gentle poet chairs the Finnish Writers’ Union, a post he has held since 1987.

And even fewer would guess that this is the most characteristic poet of post-war Finland, an ‘urbanist’, ‘child of Marx and Coca-Cola’, ‘mouthpiece for his generation’, ‘Nordic beatnik’, ‘the Gladstone Gander of Finnish literature, who succeeds in everything he sets his hand to’…

‘Sometimes it seems to me that people still brand me as a young poet,’ says Jarkko Laine, whose work is prolific and diverse: poetry, prose and journalism, in his capacity as editor-in-chief of the literary journal Parnasso. More…

Brief lives

Issue 3/1989 | Archives online, Fiction, Prose

Rosa Liksom’s characters live in the tiny villages of empty Lapland, speaking a dialect that rings oddly in the ears of the southern Finnish majority; or they may inhabit anonymous towns, but there, too, life is full of the anguish of existence. Liksom, whose black comedy can be compared with that of the Danish writer Vita Andersen, is able to cram into her short texts complete life histories, bizarre, comic or tragic. Her first volume of short stories, Yhden yön pysäkki (‘One night stand’) appeared in 1985; the following short stories are from Tyhjän tien paratiisit (‘Paradises of the open road’, 1989)

We got hitched up the 14th of November and by the end of the month it was all over. As far as I’m concerned call it a marriage exactly two weeks too long. We hadn’t set eyes on each other till the Pampam that’s the place me and the girls go after work for a drink and I was sitting there having one with them when who comes through the door but this bloke and it hits me. That bloke’s for me. In the end I went over to his table and said up yours stud. We went over to my place to bunk down and after that I couldn’t get the sod out. The bloody shitbag got his claws into me and hung on just on the strength of that one night. He glued himself to my bed. Lay there flat out when I set off to work and shit he was still there when I came back only arse up this time. More…