Search results for "vilja-tuulia huotarinen"

Nature girl: on the poetry of Sirkka Turkka

21 January 2010 | Authors, Reviews

Sirkka Turkka with a friend. Photo: Pertti Nisonen

Sirkka Turkka writes precise, lucid sentences, as if composing a treatise. But her poems often relate utterly loopy things; the work is playful, frisky. It is not based on explication or hidden themes. When it refers to abstract matters, it always couples them with concrete reality, with natural or everyday occurrences. ‘Trees have the snowy faces of ancestors, and on the road where dogs walk in their wind-blasted trousers, silence eats itself like silk.’

The poems contain numerous allusions to literature and culture, including popular culture. The tone can be parodic in these instances, but not critical; rather, a new point of departure is established, as when Turkka writes about Hamlet in her 1970s collection, Yö aukeaa kuin vilja (‘The night opens like corn’). ‘On long, silent winter days, when his father immersed himself in additional studies or demonstrations of learning, Hamlet would shut himself up in his room in order to rewrite history. He colonised countries and swapped their locations. At one stage he even thought of making the sun rise in the West and America encounter Columbus, but he restrained himself.’ More…

Hamlet in blue velvet

22 January 2010 | Fiction, poetry

Physical, mythical, sensual, playful: Sirkka Turkka’s poems, never abstract, speak of life, death, dogs, horses, nature and humans. In her universe the humorous and the grave socialise without effort. These texts, in prose form, with Hamlet as one of the characters, are often set in a wintry landscape (see Nature girl)

Poems from Yö aukeaa kuin vilja (‘The night opens like corn’, Tammi, 1978)

Of his early childhood, Hamlet really only remembered his father’s slightly crooked and gnarled index finger, pointing at the lowest branch of a holly oak. A small owl sat on it. It can’t see anything, it’s asleep now. It won’t fly off until night. These were the only words Hamlet remembered his father saying to him during the first six years of his life. Later, all he saw of his father was his back, bent over in study of agricultural conditions in a village called Jawohl or of waterside traffic on the river Vistula at the turn of a particular century. When it came to governmental matters, the king placed his trust chiefly in his unconscious and in wheat bread, thick white slices of which he devoured from the moment he awoke. More…

It’s four o’clock and the dog is puzzled

26 September 2013 | This 'n' that

Cover image: ‘Autumn reflections’ by author and painter Saara Tikka

Cover image: ‘Autumn reflections’ by author and painter Saara Tikka

Apart from writing poetry for forty years, Sirkka Turkka has worked as a stable master and as a librarian – and she is a wizard in creating portraits of dogs in her poems.

Something kept me awake late. Something woke me up early. It’s four o’clock and the dog is puzzled. He tries to continue his dream: he was just about to catch a squirrel he barked at all of yesterday. He leaves me quite alone in silence, in which not a single breeze stirs. What is in the past ceases to be, what is to come has no significance. There is only the sun, just about to come up. And the calm surface of the lake and the coffee cup, from which leisurely steam rises.’ (From Minä se olen [‘It’s me’], 1973)

Elk, horse, raven, reindeer, jackdaw, fox. Turkka’s universe is populated with creatures, often wiser than man: man may have lost his heart, or ‘he thinks it’s a distant land’, but ‘in dogs the heart is where it should be: just after the muzzle, boulder-like, baby-faced and willing.’ (From Yö aukeaa kuin vilja [‘The night opens like corn’], 1978).

Emily Jeremiah, scholar and translator (her work includes poems by Eeva-Liisa Manner, novels by Asko Sahlberg and Kristina Carlson), found Turkka’s creatures a while ago, and as a result a selection of Turkka’s poems, entitled A Sure Star in a Moonless Night, was published recently by Waterloo Press (UK).

Melancholy: it does go well with autumn, doesn’t it? ‘Once more the stars are like a tearful ballad, and always in the evenings / the dogs tune their cracked violins.’ (From Mies joka rakasti vaimoaan liikaa [‘The man who loved his wife too much’, 1979])


30 June 2001 | Fiction, poetry

Poems from Tuulen vilja (‘Windcrop’, WSOY, 2000)

Longbeaked birds
created for the deepfunnelled gloxinia – everything exactly right.
The sport of colours, survival (though I always felt I was
sunset in the morning).
I walk over the living, the playful swing of genes,
uniqueness in splinters: capsules,
family trees, root systems, leafage.
In the geneswing little deviations of dimension,
as if I were perpetually outlining waves with my finger.
The primal miracle of seeds: I press
a mixture of summer flowers in the soil, exploding
a serial miracle. More…

The unpassing of time

30 June 2001 | Authors, Reviews

Anne Hänninen

Photo: Marjaana Saarenpää

The poems of Anne Hänninen (born 1958) recall the paintings of Henri Rousseau, in which animals and plants, each in their turn, burst out, appear into existential space and freeze to gaze at the viewer. Hänninen achieves this effect by avoiding words, action words, motion. The poems often embody an expression, vision or performance of release, but Hänninen is able to make even the ineluctable passage of time seem oddly static: ‘the pearl-buds of the rowans once gone – / lilies of the valley. And from under the hepaticas violets, / and forget-me-nots from the wood anemones.’ More…

Bombast and the sublime

17 January 2013 | Reviews

Torsten Pettersson
Skapa den sol som inte finns. Hundra år av finsk lyrik i tolkning av Torsten Pettersson
[Create the sun that is not there. A hundred years of Finnish poetry in Swedish translations by Torsten Pettersson]
Helsinki: Schildts & Söderströms, 2012. 299 p.
ISBN 978-951-52-3034-8
€25, paperback

In the 1960s my mother sometimes used to amuse herself and us children by reciting, in Finnish, in our bilingual family, selected lines of verse from the half-forgotten poetry canon of her school years.

Eino Leino (died 1926) and the great tubercular geniuses Saima Harmaja, Uuno Kailas, Katri Vala and Kaarlo Sarkia (all dead by 1945) were familiar names to me as a child. Early on, I realised that their poetry was both profoundly serious and also slightly silly, just because of its high-flown seriousness. More…