Finish Poets

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See more on my sites: poetry is rich, vibrant, and complex. Finland has a long poetic history dating back to the days of the great epic poets and runesingers of Kalevala. The Finns are a musical and a poetical people, and the culture still fosters poetic expression. The average Finn doubtless does not realize it, but he could most likely recite a snippet of the Kalevala, a few poems, and the lyrics to countless Finnish folk songs. The Finns are a people who are passionate about preserving their culture and traditions; it is in that spirit that this site is created. This collection is yet but a fraction of Finland's vast body of poetry; it should not be considered as a representative selectionjust a small sample of what Finnish poetry has in store, according to my own personal tastes. Included are also song lyrics; since the original Finnish poetical impulse was for the sung word, I see no reason not to include lyrics as poetry.Translating Finnish poetry into English is a frustrating task for any who has tried it. The Finnish language is full of nuance every word carries with it a connotation, not just of a value judgment, but its inherent environment. There are a plethora of adjectives and descriptive words which have no equivalent in English, or cases in which the English counterpart is "flatter," devoid of meaning, whereas the original word carries with it a specific context of emotion, time, location, or quality. Much of the flavor and rhythm of the language is perforce lost.That said, I hope my translations will at least somewhat lift the veil and offer a glimpse of the beauties of Finnish poetry. Anniina JokinenOf more modern interest, The Kalevala was also one of the inspirations for Tolkien's Lord of the Rings. In particular, the character of Vinminen, a mighty enchanter who has the power to chant a man to sink into the swamp, was one of the inspirations for Gandalf. Tolkien also based the Elven languages on the sounds of the Finnish tongue.


<p>Eino Leino (1878-1926) - originally Eino Armas Leopold LnnbohmFinnish poet, a master of song-like poetic forms, playwright, and novelist. Leino was the most important developer of Finnish-language poetry at the turn of the 20th century, and now probably Finland's most cited poet. In his works Leino combined the archaic and mythic tradition, symbolism, and influences from Friedrich Nietzsche with his romantic concept of the poet as a truth-seeking visionary. Leino's command of the language was outstanding, and he was the first Finnish translator of Dante. Leino's life style was bohemian and from the beginning of his literary career Leino was a well-known figure in the restaurants and cultural elite of Helsinki."Short time's to us allotted till our urn. Living, like furnace flames then let us burn, High let us in the fire be ascending, Earth stays below, the spirit's heavenward tending." (from 'Hymn to Fire')</p> <p>Eino Leino was born Armas Einar Leopold Lnnbohm in Paltamo, Hvel, the son of Anders Lnnbohm, a surveyor, and Anna Emilia (Kyrenius) Lnnbohm, who came from a priest and an officer's family. He was the seventh and youngest son; there were ten children in all in the family. Leino's father died in 1890 and his mother five years later. These losses were a deep blow to him, which he expressed in his poems in feelings of loneliness and as an orphan. He was educated in Kajaani, Oulu, and Hmeenlinna, graduating from Hmeenlinna Grammar School in 1895. At the age of sixteen Leino published a translation of a poem by Johan Ludvig Runeberg (1804-1877), the great Swedish language Finnish poet. In 1895 Leino started his studies at the Imperial Aleksander University of Helsinki. He joined literary and newspaper circles and became a member of the Young Finnish circle. Among Leino's friends were the artist Pekka Halonen and Otto Manninen, who gained fame as a poet and translator. By the end of the century, Leino left the university without taking a degree. He worked as a journalist and critic on the newspapers Pivlehti (18991905) and Helsingin Sanomat (1905-14). His pseudonyms, 'Mikko Vilkastus' and 'Teemu', were from Aleksis Kivi's play Nummisuutarit. Between the years 1898 and 1899 he edited with his brother Kasimir Leino the magazine Nykyaika, and was heavily in debt after its bankruptcy. Also both Russian censorship and self-censorship threatened free expression - Russification of Finlad had started under governor general Nicholas Bobrikov, who was shot to death by Eugen Schauman in 1904. Later Leino planned to include Schauman in his collection of poems about great Finns. When his marriage with Freya Schoultz and dreams of bourgeois life style neared an end in 1908, Leino went abroad and travelled in Berlin, Dresden, Mnich, and Rome. Leino's close friend and companion during the turning point of his life was the poet L. Onerva. Leino lived with her in Rome in 1908-09, before he was divorced from his wife. Both poets were still legally married. Leino's liaison with the writer Aino Kallas from 1916 to 1919 was another scandal - she was the wife of an Estonian diplomat. In Rome Leino</p> <p>lived at Lungo Tevere Prat and continued with his translation of Dante's Divine Comedy. A memorial tablet has been placed on the wall of house where he lived: "In questa casa negli anni 1908-1909 il grande poeta finlandese Eino Leino tradusse La Divina Commedia con amore inspirato alla universalita di Roma." Leino attempted to revive Finnish theatre, and boldly attacked Kaarlo Bergbom, the founder of the Finnish Theatre. His major plays from the beginning of the century include SIMO HURTTA I-II (1904-19), LALLI (1907), and MAUNU TAVAST (1908). From 1915 to 1918 Leino worked as an editor of the magazine Sunnuntai. At the outbreak of the Finnish Civil War (1917-18), Leino was in Helsinki, where he witnessed the battles with his small boozing circle. The reign of the Reds did not win Leino's sympathies; the women's battalion especially horrified the poet: "This was the first time I'd seen so many of them gathered together, and I have to confess, in the name of truth, I've never at any other time witnessed such human savagery, bestial frenzy, mental derangement and physical disfigurement." (trans. by Herbert Lomas, from Helsinki: a literary companion, 2000) After the war Leino's idealistic faith for a national unity collapsed, and his influence as a journalist and polemic writer grew weaker. He was granted a State writer's pension in 1918 at the age of forty. Although publishing prolifically, he had financial problems and his health was giving way. "Life is always struggle with eternal forces," Leino said in a letter in 1925 to his friend Bertel Gripenberg: "Nous sommes pourtant ncessaires. Aussi malades. Mais c'est de la tristesse de la vie, qui pour nous est toujours un combat avec les forces trnelles." - Leino died at Riihiluhta in Nuppulinna on January 10, 1926. "Well Eino Leino - perhaps he was the only Finnish author who can really be called a genius," said Bertel Gripenberg. Leino was married three times, first with Thyra Freya Franzena Schoultz (1905-10), then with the harpist Aino Inez Kajanus (1913-1920), who was the daughter of the conductor Robert Kajanus, and for the third time with Hanna Laitinen (1921, died 1929). Freya Schoultz was a translator and commercial correspondent; and with her for a couple of years the poet enjoyed bourgeois life in a large seaside flat. Leino's only child, Eya Helka, came of this marriage. Leino's first collection of poems, the light-hearted MAALISKUUN LAULUJA, appeared in 1896, when he was eighteen-years old. Later he turned from the free style to the meter and style of folklore. TUONELAN JOUTSEN (1896), a Neo-romantic verse play, combined symbolism and folk poetry. After a journey to Russia Karelia and falling in love with a "nature child", Anni Tiihonen, Leino wrote SATA JA YKSI LAULUA (1898). He started the work in Berlin. It included one of his most beloved poems, 'Hymyilev Apollo', originally part three of the larger poetic work entitled 'Hymni'. Reinhold Roine's (pseudonym R.R.) review of the book in the newspaper Uusi Suometar was hostile. Later Leino published his 'Hymn' in TUULIKANNEL (1919), but to this version he had made small changes. For decades, the poem has been heard on New Year's Eve radio broadcasts. Another popular poem, the resignated 'Nocture', was first published in TALVI-Y (1905). "I have stopped chasing Jack-o'-Lantern, / I hold gold from the Demon's mountain; / around me life tightens its ring, / time stops, the vane has ceased to swing; / the road before me through the gloom / is leading to the unknown room."</p> <p>Simo Hurtta, an epic poem, took its subject from the long war in the early 18th century between Russia and Sweden-Finland. Talvi-y and HALLA (1908), born in the years of political dissatisfaction, returned to the images of darkness, frost, and cold. His personal crisis led the poet to abandon individual heroes and the theme of death - he focused on cosmic visions and legends. Leino's works, such as PAINUVA PIV (1914) and ELMN KOREUS (1916), still had high artistic values. His first and only screenplay, KES (1913), Leino wrote according to stories in one night - allegedly he had not seen any feature films. After the Finnish Civil war Leino worked productively but on several occasions his efforts led to pathos and empty preaching. During this period there appeared LEIRIVALKEAT (1917), JUHANA HERTTUAN JA CATHARINA JAGELLONICAN LAULUJA (1919), AJATAR (1920), SYREENIEN KUKKIESSA (1920), and SHEMEIKAN MURHE (1924). Leino also wrote plays, essays, contemporary novels, animal fables, and translated into Finnish works from such authors as Racine, Runeberg, Schiller, Anatole France, J.W. von Goethe, Dante, Rabindranath Tagore, Dante (Divine Comedy, 1912-14) and Corneille. His oeuvre includes 32 books of poetry, 25 plays, 25 novels, and 16 translations.Tell me, O Sun, what is that Gives the greatest bliss to the singer? "Do as I do, beam like me, Giving's greatest bliss to the singer." (from 'The Sun's Advice')</p> <p>Having published several books of verse, Leino produced his major work, HELKAVIRSI (1903-1916, Whit songs), a collection of narrative poetry composed in the trochaic meter. It was based on the Kalevala and folk poetry, and appeared in two collections. Several of the ballads present the past in heroic light, its characters are great visionaries, who challenge their fate or willingly yield to greater forces. "Tss' on mies tmn sukuinen, / kadu ei tehty tekoa / eik taivasta tavota." (from 'Ylermi') The second volume of Whitsuntide songs is more resigned and more mystical than the first, and the symbolism is more obscure. "Uskoin ennen ihmisihin, / en nyt itke, en iloitse, / ohi kyvt onnet heidn, / onnettomuudetkin ohitse, / tiedn kyll kylmyyteni, / en sit sure, en kadu, / se on voitto taisteloiden, / tulos tappion tuhannen." (from 'ijn virsi') Obsession with death marks some later pieces. Leino never wrote a third volume of Helkavirsi, although the noted short story writer Aino Kallas in vain tried to persuade him to do so. Leino's autobiographical books, ALLA KASVON KAIKKIVALLAN, appeared in 1917, and ELMNI KUVAKIRJA in 1925. As an essayist Leino was one of the best of his time. In the unfinished series of essays, SUOMALAISIA KIRJAILIJOITA (1909), he drew well-characterized portraits of Finnish authors. SUOMALAISEN KIRJALLISUUDEN HISTORIA (1910) was a short but insightful history of Finnish literature. Leino also wrote about himself in the book and admits the influence of Goethe on his poetry. He praises Aleksis Kivi's novel The Seven Brothers - "Yht rohkea kuin kirjan sisllys on sen muoto, joka on sekoitus draamallisista, eepillisist ja lyyrillisist</p> <p>aineksista, kaikki kuitenkin yhtynein klassilliseksi kokonaisuudeksi." Although his general attitude is positive, one exception is Irmari Rantamala's (Maiju Lassila) large and shapeless novel Harhama (1909), which he dismisses as "tasteless". In his own novels Leino reacted to contemporary social, political, and ideological questions. His cycle of novels, TYN ORJA (1911, slave of work), RAHAN ORJA (1912, slave of money), NAISEN ORJA (1913, slave of woman), and ONNEN ORJA (1913, slave of fortune) deals with the modern capitalist world, which destroys idealism.For further reading: Nalle ja Moppe: Eino Leinon ja L. Onervan elm by Hannu Mkel (2003); 'Eino Leino (1878-1926)' by Marja Liisa Nevala, in 100 Faces from Finland, ed. by Ulpu Marjomaa (2000); Encyclopedia of World Literature in the 20th Century, ed. by Steven R. Serafin (1999, 3. vol.); Mestari by Hannu Mkel (1995); Poliittinen Eino Leino by Yrj Larmola (1990); Eino Leinon tie Paltamosta Roomaan by Teivas Oksala (1986); Eino Leino ja Italia by Peka Lilja (1985); Eino Leino ja Viro by Pekka Lilja (1981); Maan piirist metafyysiseen by Aarre M. Peltonen (1975); Epic of the North by J.I. Kolehmainen (1973); A History of Finnish Literature by J. Ahokas (1973); Mielikuvirn taistelu by MarjaLiisa Kunnas (1972); Studier i Eino Leinos kalevalaromantik by Sakari Vapaasalo (1961); Tuntemani Eino Leino by Aino Thauvn-Suits (1958); Eino Leino aikalaistensa silmin, ed. by Aarre M. Peltonen (1958); Voices from Finland, ed. by E. Tompuri (1947); Eino Leinon runoudesta by V. Tarkiainen (1954); Eino Leino by Olli Nuorto (1938); Eino Leino I-II by L. Onerva (1932) - See also: Aino Kallas, Viktor Rydbergin runoteoksessa Dexippos on Sibeliuksen sveltm ja Eino Leinon suomentama 'Ateenalaisten laulu'. Hella Wuolijoki: Kummituksia ja kajavia. Muistelmia Eino Leinosta ja Gustaf Mattsonista (1947); Juhani Siljo: Eino Leino lyyrikkona (1912) - Note: Eino Leino Award established in 1956 - See also: Eino Leinon Seura - Influence: Larin-Kysti - Film: Runoilija ja Muusa (1978), directed by Jaakko Pakkasvirta, starring Esko Salminen as Eino Leino and Elina Salo as L. Onerva. The film depicted Eino Leino's life and women in it. ELEGIA Haihtuvi nuoruus niinkuin vieriv virta. Langat jo harmaat ly elon kultainen pirta. Turhaan, oi turhaa tartun ma hetkehen kiini, riemua ei suo rattoisa seura, ei viini. Hipyvt taakse tahtoni ylpet pivt. Henkeni hurmat ammoin jo jlkehen jivt. Notkosta nousin. Taasko on painua tieni? Toivoni ainoo: tuskaton tuokio pieni. Tiedn ma: rauha mulle on mullassa suotu. Etsijn tielle ei lepo lempe luotu, pohjoinen puhuu, myrskyhyn aurinko vaipuu, j punajuova: kauneuden voimaton kaipuu. Upposi mereen unteni kukkivat kunnaat. Mies olen kyh: kallit on laulujen lunnaat. Kaikkeni annoin, hetken ma heilua jaksoin, haavehen kullat mieleni murheella maksoin. Uupunut olen, ah, sydnjuurihin saakka! Liikaako lienee pantukin paatinen taakka? Tai olen niit, joilla on tahto, ei voima? Voittoni tyh, tyn tulos tuntoni soima. Siis oli suotta kestetyt, vaikeat vaivat, katkotut kahleet, poltetut, rakkahat laivat? Nytk ma kaaduin, kun oli kaikkeni tarpeen? Jhmetyn jksi, kun meni haavani arpeen. Toivoton taisto taivaan valtoja vastaan! Kaikuvi kannel; lohduta laulu ei lastaan. Hallatar haastaa, soi svel sortuvin siivin. Rotkoni rauhaan kuin peto kuoleva hiivin.</p> <p>Selected works: </p> <p>MAALISKUUN LAULUJA, 1896 TARINA SUURESTA TAMMESTA, 1896 YKEHRJ, 1897 KIVESJRVELISET, 1898 SATA JA YKSI LAULUA, 1898 TUONELAN JOUTSEN, 1898 AJAN AALLOILTA, 1898 - The Waves of Time HIIHTJN VIRSI, 1900 JOHAN WILHELM, 1900 SOTA VALOSTA, 1900 PYH KEVT, 1901 KANGASTUKSIA, 1902 MSTER GARP, 1902 SUOMALAINEN NYTTMTAIDE, 1902 HELKAVIRSI, 1903 PIVPERHOJA, 1903 KAUNOSIELU, 1904 SIMO HURTTA, 1904 NAAMIOITA, 1905 PIV HELSINGISS, 1905 TALVI-Y, 1905 TUOMAS VITIKKA, 1906 RUNOKIRJA, 1906 JAANA RNTY, 1907 LAUKON LAKKO, 1907 NAANIOITA. 2, 1907 TURJAN LOIHTU, 1907 HALLA, 1908 OLLI SUURP, 1908 NAAMIOITA. 3, 1908 SUOMALAISIA KIRJAILIJOITA, 1909 NAAMIOITA.4, 1909 NUORI NAINEN, 1910 - Den unga kvinnan SUOMALAISEN KIRJALLISUUDEN HISTORIA, 1910 ILOTULITUS, 1911 KIRKON VIHOLLINEN, 1911 MAAN PARHAAT, 1911 TYN ORJA, 1911 NAAMIOITA. KUUDES SARJA, 1911 RAHAN ORJA, 1912 THTITARHA, 1912 NAISEN ORJA, 1913 ONNEN ORJA, 1913</p> <p>KES, 1913 (screenplay, film directed by Kaarlo Halme, starring Hilma Rantanen, Konrad Tallroth) SEIKKAILIJATAR, 1913 MESIKMMEN, 1914 PAINUVA PIV, 1914 PANKKIHERROJA, 1914 PAAVO KONTIO, 1915 ELMN KOREUS, 1915 HELKAVIRSI, 1903-16 - Whitsongs MUSTI, 1916 ALLA KASVON KAIKKIVALLAN, 1917 KARJALAN KUNINGAS, 1917 LEIRIVALKEAT, 1917 HELSINGIN VALLOITUS, 1918 AHVENET JA KULTAKALAT, 1918 VAPAUDEN KIRJA, 1918 VYRIN SOTAKOULU, 1918 SIMO HURTTA I-II, 1904-19 - film 1940, dir. by Roland af Hllstrm, starring SanteriKarilo, Aili Tikka, Hannes Veivo</p> <p>ELINA, 1919 JUHANA HERTTUAN JA CATHARINA JAGELLONICAN LAULUJA, 1919 TUULIKANNEL, 1919 BELLEROPHON, 1919 LEMMEN LAULUJA, 1919 SYREENIEN KUKKIESSA, 1920 AJATAR, 1920 KODIN KUKKA JA UHRIKUUSI, 1920 VANHA PAPPI, 1921 PAJARIN POIKA, 1922 PUOLAN PAANIT, 1922 SHEMEIKAN MURHE, 1924 ELMNI KUVAKIRJA, 1925 KOLME LHTI, KAKSI PALASI, 1926 RUNOJA, 1928 KOOTUT TEOKSET 1-16, 1...</p>