February 24, 2006 11:47 PM The below links to Kaltio web site dont work any more – the editor-in-chief of the magazine, Jussi Vilkuna, has been fired today and the web site closed. What can I say? This is even too close to the fears I expressed in my note on February 15. Still, this may not be the end of it… will not be… for me…

February 24, 2006 9:15 AM The Kaltio comic strip now also with English text. Today’s Helsingin Sanomat again reports that two big Finnish financial institutions, the Sampo Bank and incurance company Tapiola, are withdrawing their support from the magazine.

February 22, 2006 10:00 PM The Pen Club of the Kurds, working in Germany, has published a protest against violence related to the cartoon crisis. “Certain despotic governments are mobilizing groups to violence against Danish institutions. However, Denmark is an open, democratic, and tolerant country characterized by social equality and political liberalism. We all admire its freedom for expression”, the Club writes. This information again via my friend Jukka Mallinen.

February 22, 2006 11:05 AM Kaltio, a cultural magazine from Nothern Finland, publishes at its web site a comic strip commenting the debate on Jyllands-Posten cartoons. The Kaltio strip admirably solves the problem of Islam’s prohibition against depicting the Prophet: he is only shown in disguise (behind a mask with a long peak and heavy eyeglasses). The Kaltio editors are also smart enough to apologize in advance for any religious sentiments being offended as well as for any new apologizing thus needed from the part of the Finnish authorities.

February 21, 2006 10:25 AM Delighted to see two Google Poem old-timers to submit new work: Todd Broomhead, “Two Google Poems“; Jesse Crockett, “Smart Code“.

February 20, 2006 10:10 PM I see my reading of “Exactly, Absolutely” has the honour of being included in “featured mp3s”, selected for Spring 2006 by Marjorie Perloff, at the PENNsound front page, – along with, among others, Mayajkovsky (read by L. Brink), Christian Bök, Caroline Bergvall, and, not least, Kenneth Goldsmith reading Ludwig Wittgenstein, to the accompaniment of a symphonic orchestra and perhaps surpassing even the classic recordings by M. A. Numminen.

February 18, 2006 9:25 PM Beeasily. Experimental poetry by harry k stammer with visuals by Karri Kokko.

February 18, 2006 10:45 AM Introducing my friend, poet Régis Bonvicino from Sao Paulo, Brazil. I have a pleasure to work with him on an international poetry project of which more at some later time.

February 17, 2006 4:45 PM My friend and reliable adviser in all things Russian, Jukka Mallinen, reports on new measures taken by the Putin administration against critical Russian media. Gorodskie vesti, a paper from Volgograd, faces shut-down on the grounds of publishing a cartoon of Jesus, Moses, Mohammed, and Buddha watching TV where two groups of people are getting ready to fight. The Founding Fathers’ comment, “We didn’t teach them that, did we?” qualifies as “offending other peoples’ religious sentiments”…See a story in today’s Kommersant (Russian). I’m waiting for the official Finnish statement: “While the publication of the cartoon was unwise…”

February 17, 2006 10:04 AM In Memoriam Barbara Guest (1920-2006). The sad news via Charles Bernstein.

February 16, 2006 8:20 AM Next Tuesday, Feb. 21, 5 to 8 PM, I’ll be at International Cultural Centre Caisa, Mikonkatu 17, Helsinki (Meeting Rooms 1 and 2), to celebrate the International Mother Language Day at an International Literature Evening with poetry and text readings in different languages and discussion on international literature on the Internet. The event is organized by Caisa, Living Poets’ Society, the Poetry Society Nihil Interit, and Kulttuuritarha (‘Culture Garden’). The entrance is free; for more information, connect Kiamars Baghbani, tel. 050-3759830.

February 15, 2006 12:59 AM Re the previous entry (and link): the illustrations in the Finnish Divina Commedia are, of course, by Gustave Doré – however, the volume in question fails to mention his name, hence my attribution, “Anonymous”. Another, interesting angle to depicting the Prophet is provided by Mane a.k.a. Matti Kinnunen (scroll to the end of the entry of Feb. 14).

February 15, 2006 10:50 AM I’m starting to feel really worried about the anti-intellectualism and moral cowardice of the stance the official Finland seems to be adopting in the ongoing cartoon controversy. As an attempt to trigger some thinking as to what may be at stake, let me present this new revealing (shocking, provocative, offending, tasteless… you name it) image of the Prophet Mohammed.

February 13, 2006 12:20 AM Meet poet Vilja-Tuulia Huotarinen, my successor as Chairperson of the Poetry Society Nihil Interit. I remain a member of the Executive Committee, responsible for the Helsinki Poetics Conference, the Kuopio Seminar of Sound Poetry in September, and the poEsia series of BoF and online poetry books. My other colleagues in the committee are Marko Niemi (as Vice-Chairperson), Miia Toivio, Ville-Juhani Sutinen (now responsible for Tuli&Savu Net), and Teemu Manninen, who joins Miia as co-editor-in-chief of Tuli&Savu.

February 11, 2006 8:48 AM I’m in Tampere, for the Annual Meeting of the Poetry Society Nihil Interit which is organized in connection to Henki ja elämä, a literature festival, in “Siperia”, Finlayson, Itäinenkatu 11 (the Meeting will be in the cabinet of Restaurant Bella Roma, starting at 1 PM). 4.45 PM I will be at Poetry Stage Bravo, hosting poets Jyrki Pellinen (with a new book of poetry, Sinistä ja punaista, out from Kirja kerrallaan) and Janne Nummela (whose debut collection Lyhyellä matkalla ohuesti jäätyneen meren yli, will soon come out in poEsia, a series of volumes in poetry jointly published by Nihil and Kirja kerrallaan). Our Poeta Nihilista feature will start at the same stage at 5.15 PM.

February 5, 2006 12:30 AM Fundamentalists of the world uniting? I must confess that (you guessed it) I’m not at all happy with the present trend toward atonement with and “understanding” of the militant Muslim reaction to the Jylland-Posten cartoons. I’m afraid most of the talk of the “rapprochement of cultures” is misguided and only serves to strengthen the position of those who do not wish any rapprochement at all – cf. the current near-consensus between the Bush Administration and radical Muslims against Danish freedom of speech. As a point of departure, I have no respect to any “culture” as such, my own included. To put it otherwise, all culture worth speaking of grows from this kind of disrespect. There are, of course, limitations even to the freedom of speech, but not along the line between “right” and “wrong” uses… In fact, only the freedom to “wrong” uses counts. I hope “we” (whoever we are) could stand strong. For more, from both sides of the debate, visit freedomofspeech.dk.

February 4, 2006 8:08 PM Following Karri Kokko’s excellent recent overview in Parnasso (our leading mainstream literary magazine), Aamulehti (from the city of Tampere & the second biggest newspaper of the country) now also covers Finnish poetry blogging.

February 3, 2006 11:45 AM “A case in point is the Get a Google Poem website, which eliminates the middleman (you) altogether by producing a seemingly instantaneous readymade Google-sculpted poem for the user based on a checklist of parameters.[20] The site is run by poet/ translator/ novelist Leevi Lehto, whose fanboy complicity with Google is on display (literally, on the site) in a letter he wrote to ‘the guys [sic] at the world’s favorite search engine’, in which he defined his website as ‘a collective artistic celebration to, and reflection on, the great revolution in the structures of information delivery and retrieval that Google is so much [a] part of’.[21] I’m assuming he means ‘reflection of’ instead of ‘reflection on’: with nothing but celebratory perpetuation on the site, the ‘reflection’ is a virtual mirror, not a critical analysis.” From a long essay by Dan Hoy in the upcoming issue 29 (April 2006) of Jacket. While I agree with him on Google being “[not only an] utilitarian tool”, and the need to “acknowledg[e] its ideological architecture”, I think his attack on “flarf” and “Google sculpting” suffers, well, from it’s being an attack. “Eliminates (?) the middleman.” “Seemingly (?) instantaneous.” “Nothing (?) but.” But you should read it yourself…

February 2, 2006 8:12 Tommi Nuopponen’s fabulously Mallarméan (or Jokinenian) Käännöksiä blog now has content in the form of an elegant blogger image.

February 1, 2006 8:55 AM A new, young, Finnish poetry blogger: Lassi Miinalainen from Rauma.