The Birdcage Archives

Friday, 20 October 2017

Pentti Holappa, Dies aged 90

Hello Gentle Reader,

Finland is one of those unique cultures and countries, which exist completely under the radar. It’s a Nordic country, with a complex language, notoriously difficult to learn, let alone translate. Its only relatives on the linguistic family tree are: Estonian and Hungary. In a previous blog post ‘Finnish Finds,’ I called the Finnish language, a language of: ‘dreams, spells, enchantments, and incantations; it’s a language of divination.’ Its people herald from a land of forests and frosts; a sparse population, and tundra’s riddled with reindeer. Few authors from this Nordic northern country have made any splash outside of the Finnish language and literary scene—which is a lamented pity, as their perspective is strikingly unique, with preoccupations to thoughts of divinity, and dreams; existential ponderings in relation to environmental concerns; as well as questions of the solitary individual in relation to the grander community. Many great writers are not known in other languages, and are often only admired in Finland; such as: the poet, Helvi Juvonen; the late short story master, Raija Siekkinen; prose writer, Eeva Tikka; and so many left forgotten and unknown at this time. Pentti Holappa, was one of Finland’s more well-known writers, who was able to appear very briefly in other languages. Though he wrote novels and plays, Holappa is most well-known for his poetry, and was considered a few years back a candidate for the Nobel Prize for Literature; which sadly would pass him over.

Pentti Holappa’s poetry was known for its gentle lyricism, and being intensely philosophical as it grappled with concepts such as: sexuality, the destruction of the environment, human conflicts, war, identity, the nature of memory, as well as the volatility of sexual attraction. His poems have also be compared to Swedish Poet and Nobel Laureate, Tomas Transtromer, for their superficial simplicity, and grand depths which lurk beneath their approachability.

Beyond his career in poetry and literary endeavors, Pentti Holappa, was briefly the Minister of Culture in Finland in the early seventies.

It is sad to admit Gentle Reader, but this post is very late in correlation with Pentti Holappa’s death; as the poet had passed away on October 10th, in his home in Helsinki.

Rest in Peace, Pentti Holappa. Here is hoping in the future, your poems and prose will be translated into English and other languages, so we too may enjoy your work.

Thank-you For Reading Gentle Reader
Take Care
And As Always
Stay Well Read

M. Mary

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