Friday, December 2, 2011

FinNALA News December 2011

The FinNALA Newsletter,
Volume 5, Number 1

Merry Christmas, everyone,
from all of us at FinNALA and Kippis!

FinNALA is now going to publish Kippis! only in an online version with occasional special issues in limited edition paper copy. G. K. Wuori is coordinating the submission and editing process for the journal. In preparation for the upcoming issue, we are currently accepting submissions. Please email submissions to gkwuori at hotmail dot com or send them to his postal address:

G. K. Wuori, Assoc. Editor
440 S. California Street
Sycamore, IL 60178  

FinNALA has a new mailing address. The postal address is as follows:

Beth Virtanen, President
P O Box 11
New Blaine, AR 72851

Our web address is still and we will locate upcoming issues of Kippis! on the FinNALA website.

Looking forward to FinnFest 2013, FinNALA will be coordinating readings and writing workshops by Finnish-American authors and poets. We are also planning to reserve a room at a venue to have a FinNALA membership meeting and dinner. FinNALA will also reserve a booth in the tori, and will look for volunteers to maintain the booth. Authors and poets can bring their work to the booth to sign and sell during their allotted time, They may not, however, expect other attendants to sell their work. Look for details in the coming year.  

A special commemorative issue of Kippis! is planned to be for sale at FinnFest 2013 in Hancock, Michigan. To ensure that your work is considered for the issue, it must be included in an issue of Kippis!prior to Summer 2013.

The Fourth Annual Kippis! Creative Writing Contest is being planned. Submissions will be accepted from January first through March first. Categories include fiction, creative nonfiction, and poetry. Fiction and nonfiction submissions may not exceed 3,000 words. Poetry submissions may include multiple poems but each sumission may not exceed eight pages. The entry fee for each submission is $20.00 and multiple entries are accepted as long as each is accompanied by an entry fee. First prize is $100, second prize is $50, and 3rd prize is $25. Judging will be done by the Kippis! editorial staff.  

To enter by mail, send submissions with entry fee in the form of a check or money order made out to "FinNALA" to Beth Virtanen, Pres., Kippis! Contest!, P O Box 11, New Blaine, AR 72581.  

To enter online, go to the FinNALA homepage and follow the directions there to pay by PayPal and submit your work electronically.

Suzanne Matson received a 2012 National Endowment for the Arts Creative Writing Fellowship.  The novel she was writing (and read from at a previous FinNALA event at FinnFest in Minneapolis) concerning Finns has morphed and shape-changed so that it's a wider picture now, but it still has some of the Montana/Finnish immigrant "DNA" in it.  An excerpt from that manuscript was what she applied with to the NEA.  Here’s a link to the release:


Sheila Packa  just edited an anthology of 75 writers in the Lake Superior area, Migrations: Poetry & Prose for Life's Transitions.  For more info,

She has also been working on some video poems with Kathy McTavish.  Links to those are on Sheila's blog,

A Poem by Sheila Packa (It is also in the anthology noted above):

Memory / The Mine

I return but it’s all excavation — me
an employee of the organization.
I remember a long road past a gate,
a dead landscape.
Dust. Noise. First the crusher and then
where I worked, the agglomerator
with conveyors to the trains.
First stop, the dry.
A sink like a Roman fountain.     
Clothes blackened by taconite, yellow and white
hard hats, coveralls, steel toed boots,
safety glasses, the whistle
starting and stopping each shift.
For this, I’d propped myself on a ledge
for the paycheck.
Steel beams, high voltage. Dripping grease.
One of the crew leaning on high pressure
water hoses, blowing dust out of the nose
into a handkerchief, pushing spillage
down the sloping concrete floors
below rolling furnaces,
swallowing salt tablets from dispensers.
On a swing shift, counting
days till the long weekend
taking smoke breaks, and calculating
what falling asleep on graveyards might cost.
All night and day the trains came to load
and carry to the ore docks.
In the lunch room I took from my lunch pail
a paperback. Kept myself awake
with coffee from my thermos
avoided pellets and their third degree burns
stared into the middle distance
not the ends but the means —
the first place I’d worked
below the surface.

Diane Dettmann has a new work in print. Twenty-Eight Snow Angels: A Widows Story of Love, Loss, and Renewal  is available from Outskirts Press. Find it here at and find Diane's blog at


Don as "Tauno" Hagelberg shares a reminder below.

Many of you already know about the "special Finnish" News which appears under the Finnish Language News Service. This News is broadcast at Second Level Finnish as defined by the European Standards. It is available at: << >> While this service has been highlighted here before, I am more than sure, it seems about time to repeat it's availability. (Please correct the day if you have to when you access the service.)

Garrison Keillor read a poem on NPR by Jane Piirto, Trustees' Distinguished Professor at Ashland University; you can check it out at Also find her website with a listing of her works at

Dr. Kathryn Laity, associate professor of English at The College of Saint Rose, has been awarded a Fulbright Scholar grant to lecture and perform research at the Moore Institute at the National University of Ireland Galway during the 2011-2012 academic year.

Dr. Kathryn Laity
Laity will teach a seminar on the romanticism and realities of the writer's life in the digital age.  According to the U.S. Department of State and the J. William Fulbright Foreign Scholarship Board, Laity is one of approximately 1,100 U.S. faculty and professionals who will travel abroad through the Fulbright U.S. Scholar Program in 2011-2012.
A member of the Saint Rose faculty since 2006, Laity (, specializes in medieval literature and culture, including the Vikings and
interpretations of medieval culture and literature in popular culture, film, creative writing, new media, comics and social media.  She writes a weekly column on women and technology for a major women’s website and authors genre fiction under pen names.  Laity holds a doctorate from the University of Connecticut.
Lisbeth Holt had several stories appear in Travel World News; in the August 2011 issue, "Yucatan's Mundo Maya Tourism Fair Promotes 2012 - Year of Maya Culture," and in the October 2011 issue, "Copan: Stunning Treasure of Honduras."  The latter has also appeared in the Archaeology News Network and TreasureWorks.

Gary Anderson is working on a new book for the Naselle Finnish American Festival next summer. It is titled Bunchgrass and Buttercups: The Deep River Suite.

Ernest Hekkanen published two books in the spring of this year, Wintering Over: Poems Strewn on Snow (ISBN 978-1-894842-14-3) and All Night Gas Bar, and Ten Story Autopsies (ISBN 978-1-894842-20-4), a collection of stories and memoirs. He gave two readings at FinnWest at the Scandinavian Center in Burnaby, B.C. and, along with Margrith Schraner, held down a book table in the Tori.

Lennard Sillanpää is working to establish an annual Midsummer Concert in Ottawa as the President of the Nordic Society. The organization is looking for sponsors for the event which promises to draw enthusiastic crowds.

Lauri Anderson will be a guest writer at Iowa Wesleyan College in March of 2012. He will lecture in classes, speak at an assembly, read from his published works in various settings, and sign his books at the bookstore.

A Poem by M. L. King

I served reform where lords conform
and shook the party’s tables, mobbed
with ranks of famished youth I begged
to leave before their dreams were squashed
by tanks that marshaled for the state.
Despite my vote against that force,
gunshots and sirens laced with screams
resounded through the capital.
Confined at home by upset chairs,
I gauged the wails.
                                Guarded now, I
putt on the porch. Inside I play
chess with my wife, talk to cassettes
our grandkid’s toys conceal, until
my death, when cops beat friends who mourn
outside; shrewd comrades run the tapes
to foreign press who bind my words.

Find G. K. Wuori's blog below

Cold Iron, as usual, tries to amuse, entertain, and annoy even as the rusticator himself wonders why the red light on his mouse is blinking.

Anyway, this month's brainfest can be found at


A Poem by Lisbeth Holt

Early Winter
It is early winter now with waning hours of mortality
Yet what I’ve not seen or where I’ve not been
Fate offers to me as enticing possibility
And I cannot turn away, for it is the soul’s choice.
As long as my feet can carry me,
As long as my mind remains curious and free,
As long as I feel my heart will expand
I say “yes” to the invitations,
Begin anew the explorations.
It is early winter, I cannot deny it.
I glance in the mirror at the faint roadmap of lines;
From out of the twilight, they suddenly appear
(And in flickering candlelight, they disappear).
What is there to fear in these tiny furrows anyway?
Why foolishly rail against our common fate?
 It is unpretentious beauty that endures after all:
Adventures of the soul, love richly blessed,
Life a beautiful pattern of connectedness.

Newsletter Editorial Team:

Beth L. Virtanen
G. K. Wuori
Sirpa Kaukinen

(c) 2011