Author: Tero Tähtinen

At the Fluctuating Reality Club

30 March 2007 | Authors, Reviews

Leena Krohn. Photo: Mikael Böök / Teos

Leena Krohn. Photo: Mikael Böök / Teos

For Leena Krohn, compromise doesn’t seem to be an option. Although the novel Mehiläispaviljonki (‘The bee pavilion. A story about swarms’, Teos, 2006) is her 26th book, her uncompromising approach doesn’t show the slightest sign of relaxing.

Once again, Krohn (born 1947) spreads before the reader an array of fragments of reported realities, which crisscross the boundaries of imagination and challenge the whole traditional conception of the world.

Since the short-story collection Donna Quijote ja muita kaupunkilaisia (1983; English translation: Dona Quixote and Other Citizens, 1995), Krohn has moved more towards the role of thinker and polemicist than ordinary storyteller. In her work in the 1980s and 1990s, she developed a unique, highly personal hybrid literary form, which combines the elements of fiction and essay. Krohn’s attention has focussed on human consciousness, ecology and moral and social questions. Her work has been translated into 12 languages; she received the Finlandia Prize for Literature for her work Matemaattisia olioita tai jaettuja unia (‘Mathematical beings or shared dreams’, 1992). More…

Animals, thy neighbours

30 March 2005 | Authors, Reviews

Sirkka Turkka.  Photo Tomi Kontio

Sirkka Turkka. Photo Tomi Kontio

‘Everyone’s always in a hurry. In the grave it stops.’

In her new volume Sirkka Turkka (born 1939) appears as an even greater and more pitiless poet. Niin kovaa se tuuli löi (‘So bitterly the wind struck’, Tammi, 2004) – her twelfth volume, the first having being published in 1973 – is an unadorned and searching portrayal of death and the grief that accompanies it. It takes a thoroughly mature poet to handle major feelings as uninhibitedly as she does, and without letting the empathetic glow fade under the documentation.

Animals have always played an important role in Turkka’s somewhat melancholy but vital verse, with its highly individualised concrete language. In 1987 she received the Finlandia Literature Prize for her Tule takaisin, pikku Sheba (‘Come back, little Sheba’, Tammi, 1986; see Books from Finland 4/1988). Little Sheba was a small dog, one of the poet’s dearest friends. Turkka has worked as a stable manager, and horses are frequently central in her work. Domestic and farm animals are always a presence, and here they appear as tokens of the fragility of life and mortality. A hare, a horse, a dog and a lamb are among the animals whose deaths are dramatised. More…