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29 June 2015 | This 'n' that

Mirkka Rekola. Photo: Elina Laukkarinen/WSOY

Mirkka Rekola. Photo: Elina Laukkarinen/WSOY

Enigmatic stories, poems and aphorisms by Mirkka Rekola

This week, poems and aphoristic short stories by Mirkka Rekola (1931-2015).

Rekola, as the long-time Books from Finland translator Herbert Lomas put it, was ‘a minimalist before minimalism was invented’. Amazingly enough, her sparklingly terse writing was considered ‘difficult’, and she had to wait until the 1990s before her work was widely read.

Rekola produced her first collection, Vedessä palaa (‘Burning water’) in 1954, making the cardinal mistake of choosing as publisher the conservative WSOY rather than the avant-garde Otava. The book received mixed reviews; as she said, ‘for readers of traditional verse I was completely unfamiliar, while for ultra-modernists I was not modern enough.’

All the work we revisit here shows the extraordinary vividness, accuracy and exuberance of her writing – both in the poems and the often ruefully funny short stories called ‘Mickeys’.


The Books from Finland digitisation project continues, with a total of 402 articles and book excerpts made available on our website so far. Each week, we bring a newly digitised text to your attention.

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