Finnish poetry is rich, vibrant, and complex. Finland has a long
poetic history dating back to the days of the great epic poets
and runesingers of Kalevala. The Finns are a musical and a
poetical people, and the culture still fosters poetic expression.
The average Finn doubtless does not realize it, but he could most
likely recite a snippet of the Kalevala, a few poems, and
the lyrics to countless Finnish folk songs. |
The Finns are a people who are passionate about preserving their
culture and traditions; it is in that spirit that this site is
created. This collection is yet but a fraction of Finland's vast
body of poetry; it should not be considered as a representative
selection—just a small sample of what Finnish poetry has
in store, according to my own personal tastes. Included are also
song lyrics; since the original Finnish poetical impulse was for
the sung word, I see no reason not to include lyrics as poetry.
Translating Finnish poetry into English is a frustrating task for
any who has tried it. The Finnish language is full of nuance —
every word carries with it a connotation, not just of a value judgment,
but its inherent environment. There are a plethora of adjectives
and descriptive words which have no equivalent in English, or cases
in which the English counterpart is "flatter," devoid of meaning,
whereas the original word carries with it a specific context of
emotion, time, location, or quality. Much of the flavor
and rhythm of the language is perforce lost.
That said, I hope my translations will at least somewhat lift
the veil and offer a glimpse of the beauties of Finnish poetry.