Author: Annukka Peura

A taste of life

30 March 2004 | Authors, Reviews

Merja VirolainenThe origins of the world, personal histories and Finnish history intertwine in a language bringing new meanings to familiar words and placing newer words in their older contexts. In her new collection of poetry, her fourth, Olen tyttö, ihanaa! (‘I’m a girl, wonderful!’, Tammi, 2003), Merja Virolainen (born 1962) combines reality and make-believe, life lived and that yet to come, in an outstanding fusion of themes and images.

Virolainen is a master of words. Last year she published and edited a substantial body of long-awaited translations of poetry from two continents. The Finnish-German poetry anthology Toisen sanoin / Mit den Worten des Anderen (‘In someone else’s words’, Like, 2003) demonstrates how meanings and reading between the lines can open up across two languages. The volume Hän jota ei ole (‘The one who doesn’t exist’, Nihil Interit, 2003), focusing on contemporary English-language poetry from India, is a fine testament to the immense undertaking of its two editors, Virolainen and Markus Jääskeläinen. The anthology is the most extensive collection of post-colonial poetry ever published in Finland. More…


Issue 3/1996 | Archives online, Fiction, poetry

Poems from Erotus (WSOY, 1995). Introduction by Lauri Otonkoski

As the future First Mate dreams, embryonic sails in his eyes
and runs, a rat, from one ship to the next in the harbor, so I saw my image in the imago
pushing out of its chrysalis under my father’s hand that held the lens.
His other hand rested on my shoulder like a wing,
‘Resurrection!’ he cried out, and I felt my heart tumble.
And there it was: Parnassius Apollo or Parnassius Mnemosyne mnemosyne
on the glass slide, straightening its flying gear,
and a moment later, a narcotized, trembling piece of jewelry.
I handed my father a shiny pin, and he pushed it skillfully
through the body. Daylight adhered to the collection.
For the duration of the blink of an eye, all butterfly wings breathed. More…