“Tarkoituksen antamisesta elämälleen” ja vähän muustakin

My speech on receiving the Eino Leino Prize, March 24, 2015, Laulumiehet, Helsinki.

On Ulysses

Two recent pieces on Ulysses by Joyce (and me): “‘Mutta kuka oli Gerty?’” (“‘But who was Gerty?'” On the theme of “who’s talking” in Episode 13 — and the function of stylistic variation in Ulysses in general, published in the Finnish philosophical magazine, niin&näin, 3/2012); “Ulysses ja haamut” (“Ulysses and Ghosts”, my lecture in a meeting of Finnish Translators’ and Interpretators’ Union (literary translators’ section), Oct 8, 2012, Helsinki). Both are in Finnish.


Salla Hakkola (folkharp), Tero Valkonen (floor tom), and me (voice) performed three poems by the Finnish Modernist master, Eeva-Liisa Manner (1921–1995) in a matinée dedicated to her 90th birthday: “Kirjoituskone” (Typewriter, 1966; with introductions by Tuula Hökkä and me), “Virsi hirsipuusta” (A Psalm From the Gallows, 1956), and “Kävely” (A Walk, 1966).

Translations into Estonian

Ananke. Pantun” by Hasso Krull; “Soome kommunistid Ida-Karjalas” (by Elo Viiding).

Concert Stream

Two and a half hours of my birthday “concert” stream recorded here and here. Will itemize the previous one with start and end times for all the individual pieces soon. Thanks to everyone involved and the fabulous audience (who, hopefully, got involved as well).


Please feel welcome to my 60th birthday-cum-concert, Feb. 20, 2011, 6 to 11 PM, Kulttuuriareena GLORIA, Helsinki (plus online web cast) – with collaborations with Tero Valkonen, drums, Salla Hakkola, folk harp, Saara Lehto, dance. Read more: English, Finnish.

“Tattisaarna” (Antti Nylénin esseiden kirvoittamaa)

My speech in “Jesus versus Jesus”, a conversation between writers Antti Nylén and Janne Kortteinen, with Marko Gylén and me as moderators, Wed., Dec. 15, 2010, in Lasipalatsi, Helsinki.

Tähdet, tähdet

My rejected editorial for the Kritiikkiportti.fi portal for literary criticism.

”Suloinen kuulla kuitenkin tuo oisi.” Suomenkielisen maailmankirjallisuuden mahdollisuudesta

Text and audio for my lecture in the Annual Seminar of the Finnish Literary Research Society, June 10, 2010

Leino, Haavikko, me & “music”

Some preliminary results of my recent forays onto the border-area between “poetry” and “music”: 1) a demo of my “singing”  (mp3, 2:30) (of four stanzas of) that beloved classic of traditional Finnish poetry, “Lapin kesä” (The Summer of Lapland, from Kangastuksia, 1902; for the lyrics, in Finnish and in English transl., click here) by Eino Leino, over Chuck Berry’s orig. recording of “Rock and Roll Music”; 2) a well-known poem by the late Finnish Modernist master, Paavo Haavikko, “Kukaan ei ymmärrä minua (tässä ravintolassa)” [No One Understands Me (In This Restaurant), from Viiniä, kirjoitusta, Otava 1976] performed by me (mp3, 3:35) against the 1966 Rolling Stones classic, “Paint It, Black” in my on arrangement ; 3) my sonnet, “Vedekieltä, kai” from Ääninen (Like 1997), read as accompaniment, so to say, to a small musical composition of my own (mp3, 1:21). I welcome you to listen and to be horrified – I for my part continue to be fascinated with “doing things I cannot do”, as well as with a larger perspective of “putting music into language” (instead of other way round).

Translating Ulysses from Saarikoski to Joyce

Text for an interview with me by Lauri Niskanen, published in the newsletter (“Circularundbrev”) of The James Joyce Society of Sweden and Finland, #1 Jan 2010: English / Finnish.

Two recent videos

Me reading “Kultaiset torvet” (mp3, 2:28, 25 MB) , a rare Finnish ghazal by Otto Manninen (1925), and “Herpaantumatonta hilseilyä” (mp3, 5:47, 59 MB), my translation into Finnish of “Besotted Desquamation” by Charles Bernstein. From Äänivalta ja maan siunaus event, in Suomenlinna, Helsinki, Sept. 18, 2009. Videos by Pekka Luhta – we apologize for the less-than-excellent sound quality.

Siis mikä äänenmurros, krhm?

Click here for a recording of a discussion on poetry and literary criticism in Kirjakauppa Kirja bookshop, Helsinki, Nov 13, 2009. This carries on the lively debate that was triggered by an exceptionally nasty review by Jukka Petäjä in Helsingin Sanomat (the monopolistic main newspaper) on five new poetry books, three of them by my ntamo press (for a good English account of the debate by poet Matti Kilponen, click here). The panelists were Timo Harju and Tuukka Terho (two of the manhandled poets), poet Miia Toivio (poEsia), myself, Antti Majander from the HS Cultural Section, and poet Teemu Manninen as moderator.

Pound of So-etry!

“Witty and insightful, provocative and informative, The Sound of Poetry / The Poetry of Sound [ed. by Marjorie Perloff and Craig Dworkin, University of Chicago Books 2009] proposes nothing short of a reevaluation of the nature of poetry. In focusing on sound – such as the timbre of a poet’s voice, the noises associated with futurism, radio, and John Cage, or the challenges inherent in translation or graphic poetry – these essays explore language as living voice, and that voice (as shaped in poetry) rooted in history and place. Compelling in its alteration between personal experiences and tour de force analyses, and extraordinarily wide-ranging with perspectives from around the world, this book convinces us that poetry may be language made strange, but sound endows it with freedom and much of its power. A landmark collection rich with interdiciplinary resonances.” (John Paslet, University of California, San Diego). – The essayists are the editors, Susan Stewart, me (with this), Yante Huang, Rosmarie Waldrop, Richard Sieburth, Gordana P. Crnković, Nancy Perloff, Steve McCaffery, Christian Bök, Charles Bernstein, Hélène Aji, Yoko Tawada, Susan Howe, Rubén Gallo, Antonio Sergio Bessa, Johanna Drucker, Ming-Qian Ma, Brian M. Reed, and Kenneth Goldsmith with his remarkable “I Love Speech” speech from the Presidential Forum at the Modern Language Association annual convention in 2006, where most of the stuff in the book originates.

Khaijamin lauluja / Songs of Khayyam

Stuff from and for the new translation of Omar Khayyam into Finnish by Kiamars Baghbani and I (Khaijamin lauluja, ntamo 2009), including bilingual readings and the translators’ prefaces – in Finnish and Persian, my also in an English translation (and in a video of Saara Lehto dancing to the tunes of Iranian music, you can hear me “singing” Khayyam in Finnish…)

On James Joyce, Aleksis Kivi, and “unlikely national epics”

My talk (in Finnish) in the “Kivijalka” seminar organized by the Aleksis Kivi Society together with the University of Helsinki to celebrate the 175th birthday of the “Father” of the “Finnish literature”.

Michael Peverett

follows closely on Li Manping’s footsteps in this thoughtful piece recently published at Intercapillary / Space.

Chinese Revelations

This essay on my poetry, in the Aug, 2009 issue (Vol. 31, No. 4) of Foreign Literary Sudies, one of China’s top academic journals in the field, by Li Manping, is also the first published review of my English book, Lake Onega and Other Poems (Salt 2006) that I know of.

Newly out from ntamo

Kuinka olla täydellinen by Ron Padgett, transl. by Aki Salmela; Nättiä kirjoitusta by Leena Rantanen (for children); Kakaduu! by Reetta Niemelä (for children); happi JA MUITA MINIMALISTISIA RUNOJA by Aram Saroyan, transl. by Kristian Blomberg and Harry Salmenniemi; punaisia vesikasveja lammen pinnalla mutta järistys tapahtui meren pohjassa by Hannimari Heino; filé by Jusu Annala; Sillat voitetaan kulkemalla by Karri Kokko; SLAM! 2009, ed. by Jouni Tossavainen and Leevi Lehto; Khaijamin lauluja by Omar Khayyam, transl. from Persian by Kiamars Baghbani and Leevi Lehto; Bodice Ripper Apart by Juri Nummelin; sorta vala by Teemu Helle; Kastelimme heitä runsaasti kahvilla by Timo Harju – and you better prepare for more in near future.

A door is to find a key

“A door is to find the key s’ia / And the veil is a wish to rid the eye: / A little grease here, et, en, / And then un, and dancing, and smoke.” – To read my recent new poem translated into English by Google, click here. Intrigued to find “Finnish” (in English in the original’s attribution of the translation) to “translate” as “English” here…

Leevi Lehto: Päivän zbras paahtoleipä

My new poem is a selection of quatrains by Omar Khayyám, as translated into finnish by Rushit Bilbil Gramshi and Google.

Olli-Pekka Tennilä

on my Finnish book of essays in Tuli&Savu 1/2009.

New books from ntamo

by Tuukka Terho, Jukka Tervo, and Markku Aalto. You can now buy and order these – and soon all other – ntamo books also from its new domestic printer, Kirja kerrallaan.

Fredrik Hertzberg and Barbro Holmerg

on new Finnish poetry, today at 6 PM, in Boksalong at the Swedish-language Radio Vega.

Two reviews in Finnish

on my book of essays in Finnish, Alussa oli kääntäminen (Savukeidas 2008): Roo Ketvel in Parnasso, J. K. Ihalainen in Kirjo.

10 kirjaa jotka muuttivat mieltäni

My piece in Finnish – on “10 books that changed my mind” – for the Finnish literary magazine, Särö.

In the hope of resurfection

You may start using http:/www.leevilehto.net (or just http://leevilehto.net) to access this site. The old one is not available anymore, and alas, all it’s page specific addresses (with .asp in them) will return errors, so please update your eventual links to my stuff once you have time. Also, the Google Poem Generator is unavailable for the time being – hopefully to turn up again elsewhere.

Direction Moscow

Later today, poets Tytti Heikkinen, Marko Niemi, Miia Toivio and I will take the “Tolstoy” train from Helsinki to Moscow, where, on Sunday at 4 PM, we will mount a one-and-a-half hour seminar on “Finnish-Futurist Echoes – New technologies and machinistic impulse in Finnish 2000 poetries”. This will take place in the Central House of Artists, and is part of the Finnish Literary Exchange (FILI) programming at the well-known Non/Fiction book fair (Finland being the fair’s Guest of Honour this year). Even before that, on Saturday, starting 5 pm, we will have a joint reading with Russian poets Dаnilа Dаvydоv, Dinа Gаtinа, Annа Russ, and Arkаdij štypеlat the Bilingua Art Club (& thanks for Dmitry Kuzmin for pulling the strings on this one). We will bring along copies of a new anthology of new Finnish poetry in Russian, Говорит пограничная страна, which I edited, and published earlier this week through my ntamo press – featuring work by Kari Aronpuro, Mikael Brygger, Tytti Heikkinen, Lassi Hyvärinen, Silja Järventausta, Jukka-Pekka Kervinen, myself, Marko Niemi, Jyrki Pellinen, and Miia Toivio, and including my 2006 “Brazil” essay, “Plurifying the Languages of the Trite” in Alexander Skidan’s Russian translation. – Fragments from Kuuskajaskari, by Jyrki Pellinen, in Arvi Perttu’s translation online here.

Going Chineeeese…

World Literature, a Beijing bimonthly, in its issue 3/2008, carries a sequence of my sonnets in translation into Chinese by Ziqing Zhang.

Writing Without Writing

Local Colour by derek beaulieu is a page–by–page interpretation of Paul Auster’s 72–page novella Ghosts. Ghosts concerns itself with Blue, a private detective hired by a mysterious character named White to transcribe the actions of Black, a denizen of Brooklyn Heights. As Blue reports his findings, the reader becomes more aware of the intricate relationship between Black and White, and a tactile awareness of colour spreads through the narrative. With Local Colour, beaulieu has removed the entirety of Auster’s text, leaving only chromatic words—proper nouns or not—spread across the page as dollops of paint on a palette. What remains is the written equivalent of ambient music—words which are meant to be seen but not read. The colours, through repetition, build a suspense and crescendo which is loosened from traditional narrative into a more pointillist construction. beaulieu’s writing is a record of reading, a trace of absence. A writing without writing – & available as per today from ntamo.