Not You, Not the Rain
Not You, Not the Rain
Translation of: Tule Takaisin Pikku Sheba
Translated from Finnish by Seija Paddon
6 X 9 inches, 54 pagesScandinavian Literature in Translation
'IN THE FIRST POEM of Sirkka Turkka's collection, the narrator calls herself a "wild animal" creating an image which flirts with the notions of the absent "I" in a (nevertheless) self-centered world. The emotions the poems portray are human emotions, although not necessarily those of what, for lack of a better word, we might call "a social I." The poems create a mythical world while, simultaneously, they parody the myths. The language takes surprising twists and turns. Intensely lyrical lines which tell of "waters folding up against ice" give way to a metaphoric and dramatic ingenuity, a kind of female shamanism which conjures up storms in an eye, a hair, or a rock.
'The poems tell of seasons, animals, objects, nature and above all, phantasms which capture and enchant. They parallel gentle humour with daring, absurd humour, which tells of a rooster that loves shoes and marries one with a buckle, and of the drama of nature's dying in which human rationality and mindlessness become one.
'The poems do not function as a "realistic" window to our world, or as an outlet for conventional romanticism, but rather as a panorama of fantasy and myth-making which Turkka's unconventional use of language parodies and at the same time, celebrates.'
The theory of relativity is a theory of no change
hence: the reindeer's hoofprint cannot be this small,
nor the hare's that large
but both have passed through here.
Jesus heals no longer, he cannot, so be it.
Here the wretch that howled, the one
who composed music for pipe organs and cried out,
there an axe careened, notes dispersed.
My evenings are like my nights:
the woods carry a strange song
from the Great Boar's house,
eggs crack from the heat in an aluminium pan,
night moths die
—from Part I
Seija Paddon was born in Tampere, Finland. She received her Ph.D. in English literature at York University in Toronto and is currently living in Keswick, Ontario. She is the translator of two novels and four collections of poetry. She has taught at Concordia in Montreal and Centennial College in Toronto as well as at the University of Helsinki in Finland. You can find her regular reviews of current Finnish literature in the journal World Literature Today.
In addition to being the first woman poet to receive the distinguished Finlandia Prize, Sirkka Turkka was the recipient of the prestigious Eino Leino prize for poetry in 2000. Noted for ignoring trends and following her own literary path, she is the author of 18 volumes of poetry. In all, her poetry has been published in twelve languages.