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Martti Hynynen FivePoems TranslatedbyMikeHorwood

Martti HynynenwasborninRovaniemi, Finland, closetothe ArcticCircle, in1952andgrewuponthebanks of Finland’s greatest river, Kemijoki. His first collection, saari, nimetöön luoto (island, nameless rock), was published in 1991 by Werner Sööderströömand his secondis nearingcompletion. The five poems here are all fromthe first collection and they are representativeofthatcollectionintheirsurrealstyleanduseof simple, pared-backlanguage. Thetoneof Hynynen’spoemsin saari, nimetöönluotoistentativeandunassuming, hisimageryis typically modest and humble; potato shoots and snails are recurringimages. Yet thereis oftenanuneasysenseof threat and danger in his poems. Survival depends on having the wisdomto take evasive action or the ability to blend in withthe backgroundandescape notice. This is the wisdom thatthesnailsin‘Appraisal of theCollection’ exhibit. Despite this sometimes rather darktone, though, theemphasis is on surviving, which Hynynen sees as a guiding principle of nature. Healsohasawonderful senseof humour.

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