Author: Stephen Kuusisto


30 June 1998 | Fiction, poetry


Sometimes the river that gave birth to me
Whispers in my ear. And while the harsh hand
Of day keeps at me, my river
Sounds like birds walking on the leaves,
And the waters speak to me in Finnish:
Ikävä on olla kartanolla –
I am alone and waiting in the yard…. More…

Night city

30 June 1998 | Authors

Stephen Kuusisto

Stephen Kuusisto

The German poet Novalis wrote: ‘Daylight has got limits and hours, but the hegemony of Night penetrates through space and through time.’ In effect he says that the night is always with us, even when the sun is out. The lines always bring me back to Helsinki, the city where night permeates every wall and cobblestone.

I first came to Helsinki as a three-year-old boy, wrapped up in a heavy wool coat. My father, an American Finn, had been invited to the University of Helsinki as a Fulbright scholar. While my father taught courses in political science I practiced and perfected a child’s insomnia and remained energetically awake during hours of the day and night. I lived in a perpetual state of shadow-sleep and never closed my eyes. As a result my emerging brain absorbed Helsinki the way a night-blooming flower takes in the moon. More…