Author: Jani Saxell

Gatecrashing the universe: the poems of Ilpo Tiihonen

4 December 2009 | Authors, Reviews

Ilpo Tiihonen – Photo: Irmeli Jung

Ilpo Tiihonen – Photo: Irmeli Jung

Ilpo Tiihonen defies definition: he is, at one and the same time, a cosmopolitan poet who draws his influences from Latin America and the early Soviet avant garde, and a local poet for the whole of Finland, a fabulist who plays with language and a rough-hewn romantic of everyday life.

In Tiihonen’s selected poems, Lyhyt oodi kaikelle (‘A short ode to everything’, 2000), readers are invited to admire the prospekts of Moscow and Paris’s Montparnasse.

Most fondly pictured, however, are spring work-days wherever Tiihonen (born 1950) is living – in recent years, the working-class Helsinki suburb of Kallio, which has on the one hand scrubbed up to become a favourite of students and the more bohemian middle-class and on the other gained notoriety for its bread-lines, prostitutes and street winos. More…

The wisdom of the harvester

30 September 2007 | Authors, Reviews

Eeva Tikka

Eeva Tikka. Photo: Gummerus

In our fast-paced times, many people throw themselves into the fast-flowing current of stimulus. Eeva Tikka has remained on the shore, and on her own two feet. Her works include environmentally polemical tales and poems marked by nature mysticism and religious searching, but she is best known for her short prose.

Tikka (born 1939), who has won four Government Literature Prizes, worked as a biology teacher before beginning her career in writing. Her works dealing with everyday life, human relationships, and northern Karelian nature have been translated into five languages. More…

Countryside revisited

Issue 1/2007 | Archives online, Authors, Reviews

European philosophy and experiments with post-modern forms dominated Finnish literature in the 1990s. The cultural circles of the capital saw the long tradition of Finnish provincial prose as dull grey epic realism. At the same time, reformers of the tradition appeared, such as Sari Mikkonen. She is especially convincing as a master of the short form; her dialogues have a caustic edge and her narrative satiric eloquence.

Mikkonen won the Helsingin Sanomat literature prize with her debut collection Naistenpyörä (‘Woman’s bicycle’, WSOY, 1995). Yönseutuun (‘Around nighttime’, WSOY, 2006) updates the picture of the Finnish countryside for the 2000s. It shows how the ’empathetic blowflies’, the gossipy grannies of the village, enter the age of the mobile telephone, and smalltime entrepreneurs try their hand at mail-order businesses on the internet. More…