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Childhood, Youth, Dependency

Tiny books with pastel covers that pack a punch. I wish I had found these sooner, and that the author could still write more. I discovered the Danish Tove – Ditlevsen – through a rave review of Katriina Huttunen’s new

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Passio(n)

A tree of life gleams gold, rubies ready to be plucked from its branches. Around the trunk swirls a snake, ready to strike. Not life, then, but knowledge of good and evil. Plucking the rubies out, stripping the branches, is

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Posted in books, translation

Tolkien’s Translator

Finland’s Gandalf is real. She forges fantastic fireworks, the like of which were never seen before. They dazzle the locals who’ve never been over the next hill – or heard of anyone under it. “You shall not pass!” she cries,

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Aino A!

Living in a building designed by Alvar Aalto is both unparalleled and uncomfortable. I have just moved out of Viitatorni (the “skyscraper” he finally got built in Jyväskylä after years of trying) into Säynätsalo Town Hall, into Säynätsalo Town Hall,

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Posted in books, translation

Waiting for translation: Margarita

A real old-school holiday resort. Sauna, muscle-reviving massage for the old biddies with health problems, berry and mushroom picking, rowboats to the island in the middle of the lake, home-cooked food with produce from the estate. A local community where

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Posted in books, translation

A window left open

If some of these poems feel like song lyrics, that’s because they are. Pentti Saarikoski’s best-loved work was set to music for the sixties folk group, Muksut. You can watch their original videos in the national treasure trove that is

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Posted in books, Dublin Literary Award, poetry

Fifty islands I have not visited and never will

This is the subtitle to Judith Schalansky’s Atlas of Remote Islands. I discovered it eleven years late, because this year Marko Niemi translated it into Finnish. I ordered the German original straight away and despite the pandemic it arrived promptly

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Posted in books, history, Illustration, translation

The snow banks are high, the snow drifts deep

Christmas is almost here. Deep snow drifts is what we want, but will we get them? At least we can sing about them. My choir sang this carol by Jean Sibelius at our Christmas concert this year. We do not

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Posted in Christmas, music, translation

Come into the story

I’m on the way home from Gdańsk, from the choral festival which my choir achieved silver in the equal-voice category yesterday – we are thrilled. For the competition we had to sing two songs in our own language and two

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Posted in international, music, poetry, translation

Maresi’s Power

Maresi is home from the abbey. She has left her sisters behind. She has left the horror of death behind too, it seems. It isn’t easy coming home. The journey is hard, and long. And when she gets there, the

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Posted in books, gender, translation
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