Author: Kari Sallamaa

Trans-Siberia express

Issue 1/2001 | Archives online, Authors, Reviews

Kari Sallamaa on new poems by Olli Heikkonen

Although Russia is Finland’s eastern neighbour, it is not a favoured subject in literature. Negative stereotypes recur, but Olli Heikkonen sketches an alternative Russia.

It is black as coal and iridescent as oil, an extraordinarily wide-open country. His image of Russia is not Russophobic or ethnocentric. When he published Jakutian aurinko (‘Sun of Yakutia’, 2000), the poet had visited Russia only once — and St Petersburg at that. The neo-classical megalopolis built on Ingrian land is, of course, not the whole of Russia; not even typical Russia. More…