My interest in John Ashbery’s poetry goes back to the 80’s (I remember pumping into Shadow Train in the Helsinki City Library, finding it kinda “liberating”); around 1993-94, I translated Flow Chart (1991) into Finnish as Vuokaavio (Jack-in-the-Box 1994: on sale here). The poet visited Finland at the time of the publication, September 1994, giving readings in Tampere and Helsinki, where we had our 15 minutes in the Academic Book Store, plus readings at the University and – as the main event – in the Ateneum Hall of the State Art Museum (with participation of Finnish poets Martin Enckell, Riina Katajavuori, Jyrki Kiiskinen, Jyrki Pellinen, and Kirsti Simonsuuri). This event, part of the Helsinki Festival programming and drawing a crowd of 100+, actually kicked off the subsequent tradition of (mostly mainstream) “Huvilateltta” readings. On the day of the main event, Ashbery was interviewed in the Finnish Television prime time news.
Audio: John Ashbery (and I) interviewed by Piritta Maavuori, “Kirjallisuuden muuttuvat rajat”, Finnish radio 1, September 1994 (mp3, 18,2 MB, 19:55) (incl. samples of reading by Ashbery and me)
Omakuva kuperassa peilissä (transl. of the “Self-Portrait In A Convex Mirror, 1975) – PDF of the publication as an attachment to an issue of Taide magazine in 1994
“Itkettävää naurua” (my short review of And the Stars Were Shining, 1993)
“Ihan mikä tahansa voidaan sanoa useammalla kuin yhdellä tavalla” (my interview with Ashbery, published in Nuori Voima in 1994)