Thursday, February 28, 2013

FinNALA Newsletter March 1, 2013 Volume 6 Number 1


FinNALA Newsletter


March 2013, Volume 6, Number 1

Publication of the Finnish North American Literature Association
© March 1, 2013
Renew Your Membership for 2013
Continue your connections and support FinNALA: renew your membership at our website at Membership is $20.00 (US) for 2013. You can renew by mail by sending your check or money order made payable to "FinNALA" to Beth Virtanen, President, FinNALA, P.O. Box 11, New Blaine AR  72851, or renew by PayPal by visiting




FinnFest USA 2013
June 19-23 
FinNALA Presenters at FinnFest 
This summer, several FinNALA members will be presenting at FinnFest from June 19 to 23 in Houghton and Hancock, Michigan. FinNALA members who will read from their published works include Lillian Lehto, Lauri Anderson, Steve Lehto, Josef Aukee, Sheila Packa, Jane Piirto, Jerry Wuori, Gary V. Anderson, Nancy Mattson, Scott Kaukonen, and Beth Virtanen.
            The presentations include poetry and prose readings, and writing workshops. It is an excellent opportunity to get to meet your favorite Finnish-American writers and poets while sampling some of the best of Finnish-American and Finnish cultures.

FinNALA Meetings at
FinnFest 2013
Just a reminder to members and friends of FinNALA that another gathering of the Finns – FinnFest 2013 – will be taking place in Houghton/Hancock, Michigan on June 19-23. Upwards of 5000-7000 people will be there, including FinNALA with a booth in the tori, workshops and readings, a membership meeting, and lots of fun fellowship.  Further information can be found at the FinnFest 2013 website.  Do consider joining us in this beautiful part of the country.  Here is the link:
As part of FinnFest 2013 FinNALA will be hosting two meetings.  One will be a meeting of the Board of Advisors, and the other will be a general membership meeting.  Since we are beginning to compile a list of agenda items for both of those meetings, please feel free to offer suggestions for things that should be gone into at either of these meetings.  They can be sent either to blvirtanen at gmail dot com, or gkwuori at hotmail dot com.
Authors – Sell Your Book(s) at FinnFest 2013!
If you are going to be at FinnFest 2013 in Houghton/Hancock, Michigan, and would like to sell copies of your book(s), then FinNALA has a great opportunity for you.
For a modest $20.00 (U.S.) fee, FinNALA will:
1.      Display your book on its table in the Tori for the duration of FinnFest,
2.      Keep a small reserve supply to replace sold books,
3.      Keep an accounting of the books sold so that sales monies can be given to each
         participating author,
4.      Keep you from having to pay the $300 fee to rent and staff your own sale table,
5.      Staff the FinNALA table during all regular Tori hours of the FinnFest.
We think this will be a great opportunity for our authors to gain exposure and to make some money. If you’re interested in participating please contact Beth Virtanen as soon as possible at blvirtanen at gmail dot com.

Last Chance to Feature Your Work, Product or Services
in Kippis! the FinnFest 2013 Issue
The Finnish North American Literature Association (FinNALA) is seeking advertisers interested in marketing their merchandise, publications, services, and more to a Finnish-North American literary audience and the community that supports them. We have advertising space available in Kippis! volume 6, Number 1, the FinnFest 2013 edition, which will be for sale at FinnFest 2013 in Houghton/Hancock, Michigan, and available in an online version on the FinNALA website at Ad rates are modest and support the publication and dissemination of literary work by a multicultural and multinational group of poets and writers.

Advertising rates and sizes are listed below:

One-eight page (business card) $30
One-fourth page $50
One-half page $80
One-page $150

Send your print-ready ad copy and contact information to Beth Virtanen, FinNALA President, at bethlvirtanen at yahoo dot com.
If you wish the Kippis!team to design your ad, please do email us (bethlvirtanen at yahoo dot com), and we can work together on layout and pricing.
New World Finn Seeks Contributions
The deadline for the next issue of New World Finn is March 6th. We will be publishing on March 21.
Inquiries: Gerry Henkel, Editor gerryhenkel at fastermac dot net


Terri Martin named FinNALA Newsletter

When FinNALA President, Beth Virtanen, sent a query for persons interested in helping with the FinNALA Newsletter, Terri Martin expressed a willingness to get involved. Terri is pleased to assume the post of Editor-in-Chief.
Terri has resided with her husband, Wayne, in Michigan’s Upper Peninsula for over twelve years. She finds inspiration from the north woods for writing and embraces the unembellished U.P. lifestyle. Her middle-grade children’s book, A Family Trait, was published in 1999. She has written humor for The Porcupine Press and several outdoor articles for various publications, including Backpacker Magazine and Michigan Out-of-Doors, and won second place in the third annual Kippis! writing contest.
As an employee of Finlandia University, Terri often finds herself immersed in the Finnish-American culture of the Keweenaw Copper Country. She enjoys coordinating Finlandia’s Sibelius Academy Music Festival and a Finnish-themed Road Scholar (Elderhostel) program. Terri completed a master’s degree in English from Northern Michigan University in spring of 2011, several decades after earning a Bachelor’s degree in Liberal Studies from Western Michigan University.
Terri’s short tenure for the FinNALA newsletter has been a great experience and she looks forward to working on future issues with the help of the editorial staff and, most importantly, the FinNALA Newsletter contributors.

Submissions Sought for Kippis!
Fifth Annual Kippis! Contest is Open!
Submissions are being accepted for Kippis! 6:1
Published online and in the FinnFest 2013 Edition of Kippis!

Submissions are now being taken for the June 2013 issue of Kippis. Send us your very best fiction, nonfiction, and poetry for our consideration. This is also a contest edition, although you do not have to enter the contest in order to have your work considered for publication.
If you do want your work entered in the contest, a $20 entry fee for each piece you enter is required. Payment instructions are below and on the FinNALA website. General submission guidelines can be found below and at: Paper copies of this issue will be available in the Tori at the FinNALA booth.
Good luck! We look forward to hearing from you.
Kippis! Regular Submission Guidelines
  • Submission deadline: April 1, 2013
  • Genres accepted: fiction, nonfiction, poetry
  • Prose 3,000 word maximum
  • Poetry 3 poem maximum, not to exceed 8 pages
  • Electronic submission required. Submit to G.K. Wuori, Associate Editor, at gkwuori at hotmail dot com
Kippis! Writing Contest Submission Guidelines:
  • Regular Submission Guidelines apply
  • Entry fee: $20. Pay by PayPal or mail your check (20 US dollars) made out to "FinNALA" to Beth Virtanen, President, FinNALA, PO Box 11, New Blaine, AR 72851.
  • Prizes: First place $100, Second place $50; Third place $25
  • 1st, 2nd, & 3rd place winners receive 5 paper copies of V. 6, No. 1 issue
  • Previously published work not accepted
  • Multiple submissions are allowed with entry fee for each submission
Finnish-America’s Copper Country and
The Sibelius Academy Music Festival
A Road Scholar Participant plucks out a tune on the five-string kantele.

The Road Scholar (formerly Elderhostel) program “Finnish America’s Copper Country and The Sibelius Academy Music Festival” will take place in the Copper Country of Michigan’s Upper Peninsula September 24-28, 2013. It is administered by Road Scholar and hosted by Finlandia University of Hancock, Michigan.
Hidden in the scenic Copper Country of Michigan’s Upper Peninsula is a flourishing Finnish-American community. Immerse yourself in the Finnish-American influence of the area through hands-on workshops, presentations and demonstrations, a field trip to an authentic Finnish homestead, a mineral museum, an excursion up the Keweenaw Peninsula, and the spectacular performances of musicians from the world-renowned Sibelius Music Academy of Helsinki, Finland.
For more information visit the Road Scholar web site and enter program # 20651RJH, or call Road Scholar at 1-800-454-5768.
St. Urho’s Celebration
A St. Urho’s Celebration is coming to Menahga, Minnesota, March 15 to 17, 2013! Lots of fun activities will be included in the celebration sponsored by the Menahga Civic & Commerce Association and other community organizations.
Final preparations are being made for a Friday night crowning of the new king and queen.  A comedy-singing duo of “Tina and Lena” will entertain the crowd on Friday evening! Saturday will consist of a parade and other fun activities.  On Sunday, there will be a Mojakka Cook-Off Contest with great prizes and a silent auction. All profits from this event will go to the Menahga Area Historical Museum.  For further information, go to

By Priscilla Harvala
Mojakka, what is it?  People ask in a curious way, and you laugh,
Knowing that questioning look on their faces….it’s a familiar one.
So, how do you explain mojakka without using a cookbook or math
The simple truth is just to give them a bowlful….with a buttered bun!
Their expression of perplexity will turn into a sigh of pure pleasure,
As the first spoon full of mojakka passes over the tongue with leisure,
Their taste buds will burst into amazing delight when trying to measure,
The values of the meat or fish, varied vegetables, and spices we treasure.
Mojakka is made in so many ways using chicken, ham, fish or beef,
Browning meat well and adding onions to make a broth full of flavor,
Cover with milk or water, simmer; toss in salt, pepper, spices or a bay leaf,
Then add the vegetables - potatoes, carrots, whatever, and cook for an hour.
Every pot full of mojakka comes complete with a personality of its own,
Depending on the ingredients available and the disposition of the cook,
It may have large chunks or small, milk or water, and maybe even a bone,
One thing for sure, Betty Crocker didn’t have it in her cook book!
Mojakka was fashioned a long time ago by the resourceful American Finn
Who brought from Finland the ability to survive on practically nothin’!
When times were tough, they took a little bit of this and a little bit of that,
And with a bunch of sisu, created what’s called “mojakka,” without any fat!
The broth was sometimes thick and sometimes thin, and would depend
On what was in the pantry or how much money the family had to spend.
Generations later, mojakka has survived the test of time, and take heart,
For now it has become a St. Urho’s legend contest and a tasty work of art!



Lush Situation
By K. A. Laity

 K. A. Laity is pleased to announce the forthcoming release of Lush Situation, the second book in her Chastity Flame trilogy from Tirgearr Publishing in Ireland.
The thriller will be released on March 28, 2013. She will present a workshop "How to Keep Writing with a Full Time Job" at the Berkshire Festival of Women Writers on March 25, 2013 and will talk about Writers & Social Media at the Albany (NY) Public Library, Main Branch on April 10, 2013.
Laity’s satirical essay "How to Succeed in Academia" will appear in So It Goes: A Tribute to Kurt Vonnegut (Perpetual Motion Machine Publishing) and her academic essay, "Won't Somebody Please Think of the Children!" on Tideland will appear in the collection The Cinema of Terry Gilliam: It's a Mad World (Wall Flower/Columbia University Press).

See K.A. Laity’s website  or e-mail katelaity at gmail dot com


Heretic Hill
By Ernest Hekkanen

Ernest Hekkanen’s novel, Heretic Hill, will be published in March, 2013. Aki Kyosolamaki, special correspondent to The New York Times, attempts to keep his friend, Dr. Sadhar Badhar, from being executed in a primitive, brutal fashion in an Islamic country.Send a cheque for $25.00 To New Orphic Publishers, 706 Mill Street, Nelson, B.C. Canada V1L 4S5


Letters to Borges

By Stephen Kuusisto

Stephen Kuusisto's new book of poems, Letters to Borges, has just been published by Copper Canyon Press. Booklist writes: Kuusisto’s poems speak to Borges through evocative, otherworldly images: clouds inside bone marrow, Paracelsus in the streets of New York peddling white flags with blue crosses, the wet interior of a windowpane. Kuusisto’s affinity for Nordic countries surfaces here in the form of Helsinki’s sheer blue sky, a topsy-turvy Finnish waltz, wild grass occupied by orchestral crickets. 


Greetings from Canada

By Sirpa T. Kaukinen

Terveisiä Kanadasta

Finnish-Canadian Poems
Kanadan-Suomalaisia Runoja

Sirpa Kaukinen's short book of poetry, Greetings from Canada - Terveisiä Kanadasta, can be ordered directly from the author for $10.00 at strek at rogers dot com.

Life is an Amazing Song

By John (Juha) Raikkonen

Life is an Amazing Song is a memoir about growing up in Finland during the Finnish-Russian war from 1939 to 1945 and beyond. Described by a reader as“a humorous and serious tale…this book left me wanting for more.” This poignant story describes the experiences of a young boy living at his grandparents’ farm in Oulu, North Finland during the war. A thrilling memoir, Life is an Amazing Song is steeped in the tradition of Angela’s Ashes, My Life as a Dog (Swedish book) with a hint of Tom Sawyer.

Books purchased on web site will be autographed by the author.
ISBN: 1453735100 300 pages. Rated five stars in the National Press. Edited by: Mike Valentino Reviewed by: Jean Purcell, Siggy Buckley, Laila Sullivan, and others.

Creative Contributions


Two poems by Diane Dettmann

Day Break
Night’s darkness breathes
Fire into a new day
Of luminous sun and
Morning clouds of gray.

Lavender wisps
And rivers of blue
Pour peace and joy
On our day anew.

All we need is right here
In the break of a new day,
Share the moments with others
Before your time slips away.

Love Note
Our hearts and lives
Time floated
In wisps
Of celebration.
As angels danced
Above the horizon,
Minutes melted
Into hours,
Hours into days,
Days into years,
Translucent angels
Took you away.

Diane Dettmann’s memoir, Twenty-Eight Snow Angels: A Widow’s Story of Love, Loss and Renewal, is her story of how she found meaning in life after the sudden death of her loving husband. She is also the coauthor of Miriam Daughter of Finnish Immigrants, a story of her Finnish grandparents raising seven children in Embarrass, Minnesota in the 1920s.
            Ms. Dettmann is a contributing author for the Women’s Voices for Change website and has presented her books at various venues including international conferences in Finland and Canada. Information on website:
Email ddettmann at q dot com


A Poem by Eero Sorila

Ritva My First Love
Ritva, a queen of women from Tampere Finland, was my first love.
We were nineteen; the miraculous match seemed to be from above.

After eight months of dreamlike courtship, I had never held her hand.
It happened on a summer evening, almost too much for me to stand.

Our hands touched when from Mt Royal we descended on a day so fine.
As if propelled by supernatural power I was immediately in cloud nine.

It was the first time I touched my sweetheart’s tender and delicate hand,
Flirting of any kind had been locked due to respect with an iron band.

Up to that time a look into the eyes of Ritva had ignited my soul on fire.
We were the happiest young people on earth, but all was soon to expire.

One day a lethal intruder, a thief spelled with a big C entered her life.
A queen of women, my first love left this earth as if cut off by knife.


After experiencing first love, Eero Sorila traveled the world for forty years. His travel adventures are published in Green Mattress under the Stars. Available from Xlibris, telephone: 1-888-795-4274 or ISBN 978-1-4500-6033-5


Three Poems by Charles Peltosalo

Cars Don’t Count
I ignore humans in their cars,
I ignore humans from my car.
I dare you to try this: you’ll go cross-eyed from the prying cords.
Cars don’t count.
I don’t have relationships with cars.
I deal with people as I cross their paths.
If I have something to say, I’ll walk up to you;
You’re welcome to do the same.
It’s rude to stare either way.
The amount of psychic energy this saves for real life is incalculable.
A darting bluebird dances through a swallowtail kite’s shadow by a bamboo thicket as you whistle
I will not wave at your tinted screen, those safe Ray-bans, as you double the speed down my peaceful
     canopy road.
I spent 35 years on a tennis court, not blinking as rubber projectiles flashed past my ears at 100 mph.
What are the chances you’ll snag my attention in your speeding metal?
All hips and shoulders, I’ll note the direction of your front axle;
Maybe to line up my shot on your rear axle.
RSVPG-On my planet, I’d be your speedbump.
My nightvision has flipped on during the day:
At night one looks down to the right and away to neutralize the blinding glare of headlights.
During the day, I now look either left or right and farther away.

The S(c)ent
Passing through a village rare in
Dreams of time gone by,
I wander by a spot most fair,
Let beauty catch my eye.

Flowers lush, scented deep,
Moss and grass, each throws of velvet,
Great trees of ghostly green are rising all around me;
I know I’ve been that place before,
Same sage old spirits tell me,
Maybe couldn’t leave, some others say, then
Show me an oasis lush sprung from barren fields surrounding.

Magic bloom on magic bloom,
Exotic smells abounding,
But I’m transfixed by a forest rose, thicket deep in time.
I circle it in some mind like a redtail loosed its’ keeper’s glove,
Radiate and spin wingtips’ incline,
Ride its’ perfumed thermal while my sleeper’s body rests,
Before my spirit reperches in my waking mind, its’ waking nest.

All past love in my small world once centered in a heartbeat there,
Rode that misty beauty rising from its’ fathomed joy,
Now a memory burnt by stars, a wish I’d never been,
A trail regrown by time.
The best I’ve kept is a dreamer’s stop, odd nights to and fro.
More than once I wander back by love’s first home,
Though I know she’s flown for good.
Still her scent is in the air,
The rose grows as it should.

Though we are now miles apart by some kind reprieve or wise design,
You’re still the closest in my heart,
The sweetest, deepest valentine.
Decades melding souls and minds,
Strange minuets forever played by some violin’s faint, fickle lines
Locked us in this grand life’s dance,
Submerged us in its’ trying times-
I’m bound your bonded valentine.

Though wounds and words I’d vain decline in
Pierced and fevered states of mind,
Death would never edge one inch aside
Our seasons’ long and deep entwine.
Some Mystery Hand guides the living lines;
Each sharp curve, descent or hopeful climb:
A tragic loss, a sainted find-
A romance deeper than one another’s design did make us truly valentines.

Charles Peltosalo, 1455 Bees Creek Rd., Ridgeland, SC 29936
Email cgpelt at embarqmail dot com, tel:(843)-726-6253


A Poem by Anita Erola

The Letter
Dear Lake Oksjärvi
Do you still remember me?
I will always remember you.

Each summer’s first glimpse
From a footpath through the pines
Jewel-like sparkles beckoned.

Diamonds in the sunlight
A dance to summer’s midnight light
Brought a child’s smile delight.

The granite slope to water’s edge
Pressed smooth by ice age past
Familiar under my bare feet.

The water’s inviting waves
Soothing the rocks and shore
My childhood playground.

At elders’ words of caution
I watched each step
And learned things of nature.

Swimming, pretend games, picking blueberries
Raindrops on the roof
It was all there.

A small cottage lakeside
Filled with grandma and comfort
My place of belonging.

I recently saw your picture
Is that really you?
You appear tired and old and so untended.

I wish I could be there
To care for you
Both of us are much older now.


Two Poems by Jane Piirto

“I vowed to go about like a cuckoo /to call out on knolls”—Runo 22, Kalevala

On the office landing
coming up the stairs
March 5, I saw
through the tinted window
on the berry tree
a flock of migrating
cedar waxwings having lunch.

Inches from me
they took
wrinkled red berries into
—Ah! Their curved beaks—
swallowed them whole
with gulps.

The wind roughed
their perfect gray
short feathered wings,
tossed their tufts
of crowns.

They tipped
thin branches,
swayed to fill
their stomachs.

Then they gathered
on the maple tree,
flew off together
heading north to nest
in pine forests
where eyes will not violate
nor poems record
their name—
Hope for Spring.

“Be that as it may / I’ve skied a trail for singers” Runo 50, Kalevala

Skiing in a dark forest
snow blowing
wind smarting
no snakes here,
I find Eero.

He is standing
beneath the shed light
leaning on the wall.

His hair rises in blond curls.
He can play Metallica
on cello
like Apocalyptica.

Skiing in a dark forest,
eerie winds
struggling against snows
no snakes here
in the north when
the darkness comes at three.


Boy from Karelia
By Kaarina Brooks

(Excerpt from Chapter 1)
The Beginning of the End

“Don’t get those wood chips all over the floor, Juha!” Mom keeps nagging at me, though she can see I’m not making a mess. Most of the chips fall on the sheet metal by the stove. I like sitting here, whittling by the fire when it’s chilly and wet outside. Like today. Though it’s only four o’clock, the sun has almost set.
There’s not much to do on a rainy Sunday. I can’t go and play with my friend, Tuomo. And I can’t climb up on our roof and see the golden, onion-shaped domes of the Vellamo Convent on a faraway island in Lake Ladoga.
       I’ve done my homework. I even helped Liisa with hers. She’s seven and just started grade one, but I'm in grade three. I'm good in school, because I work hard. I don’t want to stand there and look dumb when the teacher asks me a question.
       So here I am, whittling and trying to ignore Mom, when I hear heavy stomping and wheezing out in the porch. I know that’s old Matias dropping by, because he always makes that noise. He’s over eighty, and people say he spends all his days studying the Bible. He can say the whole thing by heart, like me and the times tables.
       “Come on in, Matias,” Dad says and gets out of his rocking chair. He knows Matias likes to sit in the rocker, so he moves over to the long wooden bench by the table. Dad lights his pipe and Mom puts the pot-bellied copper coffee pot on the stove.
Matias places his worn fur hat on his knee and starts the rocker with a kick. "Listen here, Pekka,” he says. "I was readin' in the Bible that the Devil is gonna let loose all his powers in these here parts, and we’ll have to leave our lands. And that time is almost nigh.”
       “Well, Matias, I think you’re just talking through your hat,” Dad says with a grin. He likes to tease the old man. “You know the Bible isn’t always right.”
       But Matias doesn’t get mad. “You don’t have to believe me, Pekka, but when it all comes to pass, remember me sayin' so.”
       Just then the door opens and in comes my uncle Otto. He’s the police chief in our parish of Impilahti, and lives in a village closer to the Russian border.
       “So, what’s new?” he asks and sits on a bench by the wall. Mom puts another coffee cup and saucer on the table.
       “Well, Otto,” Dad says with a grin. “Matias here was telling us that Old Nick's going to let loose all his powers, and destroy everything around here.”
       To my surprise, Uncle Otto doesn’t laugh. “You know,” he says with a couple of nods. “They’ve started putting up tank barricades over there in Kitelä. Digging up huge rocks and rolling them onto the fields.”

Boy from Karelia  is a middle-grade historical fiction novel (60,500 words)  by Kaarina Brooks. It is based on the boyhood memories (1939-1945) of the late Vaino Johannes Leskinen of Vancouver, BC. The book is still in the submission phase and thus not yet available. Brooks dot kaarina at gmail dot com


My Crafty Finnish Mummu
By Hazel Lauttamus Birt
My Finnish Gramma was a crafter. Mummu did all kinds of crafts like weaving and spinning wool but her favourite was knitting. I mean she knit all the time. She would go walking and knitting to the neighbouring farm looking at the clouds, checking the wild flowers, listening to the birds. One day this habit nearly brought her to harm. She came walking and knitting right through the open kitchen door. We heard a big ‘thump’ then Mummu’s angry voice: “Who left the cellar trap door open again?” Oh, my God, we all rushed to look down. There she was standing at the bottom of the shallow dug out with her knitting in her hands.
She had everyone knitting. When Neighbor women came over for coffee Mummu would say, “You might as well be knitting as just sitting there,” and she would pass around some knitting. She taught all us children to knit. I remember being this little kid missing all my first teeth and sitting in my little rocker beside Mummu knitting away. The family would smile and say, “There’s our two Mummus knitting.” I’d be chatting to her and she didn’t answer. I looked up and she seemed to be sleeping but she still knitted away.
I turned out to be an art teacher and craftsperson too. Mummu once helped me make an Easter banner for a church in the Arctic. It was to be blue Inuit Slavic lettering on white, six feet wide, saying Hallelujah, Christ is risen. So we cut and we pasted. I was proud to show it to Moses, my Inuit friend, who said, “Hazel, it doesn’t say Hallelujah, Christ is risen. You have the last symbol upside down. It says Hallelujah Christ is dead.” Like oops - we had to fix it before we mailed it up to the Arctic.
When my children were small, we arrived at the farm one cold day and I asked Mummu if she had any spare mitts.  Mummu got up and said “tullka lapset (come children)”. She showed us a drawer full of mitts—at least fifty pairs—all with “idiot Strings” attached so they wouldn’t be lost.
I taught all my family to knit and do crafts. My granddaughter Anna took to finger knitting, making long colourful ropes. She was like Mummu; she knit all the time. She and I would sit knitting side by side and we’d plan what she could do with all her long colourful ropes. “I know!” she’d say. “For my sister Kirsten’s birthday, let’s decorate the house with streamers! Hang them from the ceiling! And Kissa our cat needs a new collar. And I know, I won’t get lost in the park anymore. I’ll take my finger knitting and leave a long trail of it so I can find my way back.”
I have no doubt that crafting in my family will continue. Especially Anna will grow up to teach her children and grand children to be crafty like our Finnish Mummu.

Hazel Lauttamus Birt grew up on her grandfather's homestead in New Finland, Saskatchewan. She has written and illustrated a number of books based on her Finnish Heritage.
She lives in Winnipeg. hgbirt at shaw dot ca

Two Poems by K. Alma Peterson

Nothing precise about the flight
egrets make, coming into view right
or left, dangling legs, deciding
at the last moment where to land.

Silent as their snowy show
leaves the estuary, an erasure
of a page trying to capture perfectly
the time-lapse details --- denser
grass, sunrise earlier by a minute,
my eyes adjusting to new familiars.

Already fearful of irrelevance,
the new bird, possessing every feather,
stands firmly on the thick book of days
that will define its significance
as news or newsprint fit only to shred
and fill the coop. Flying by
is no accomplishment, easier
so many say, older now than family
pianos. Trembling between low
and lower notes plucks time
like it was meant to beam. Blown
down soft to the lips last to speak
coldly of the wasted year.


Two Poems by Arlene Sundquist Empie
From Love Is A Place: A collection of poetry

Spring Breaks

Witness the drama of a frozen sea
stark whiteness reaches to the horizon
like a girl in a white gown arising
stretching after a long sleep
breaking the silence of winter
angular patterns of cracking ice
wild as the imagination.

Spring’s Song
Spring’s song opens the mind to possibilities
swallows return to rebuild their nest in a flurry of activity
tractors ply the fields turning over fallow soil
preparing for new life to come forth.

Released from the long winter rainshadow, my mind jazz
dances to places charted on my journey, places yet to know,
signposts to follow. The fork in the path beckons like the rock
on the beach with the perfect circle calls to be picked up.

Places summon in my dreams, places co-created in the divine plan await chance and synchronicity. Love, the highest energy of all,
surrounds me like swirling water in a whirlpool,
spilling over me like a waterfall, yet I cannot quench my thirst.

Sun thoughts wander amidst stones and pine needles,
silken sea grass and thorny blackberry vines, sensing
the pull of the moon, the incoming and outgoing tides
ever seeking —one more undiscovered place of the heart.

Email: Sunnie1 at me dot com


Brasilia: Capital Nonpareil!
By Lisbeth Holt

Who hasn’t envisioned Brazil as the counterweight to conformity and convention?  There is an undeniable seductiveness at the very mention of this land, as vast in landmass as the continental United States!   And here in its mysterious interior, travelers discover a realm of astonishing beauty in the capital nonpareil, Brasilia!    For the history buff, the architecture aficionado, this World Heritage site is a perfect fit!
Brasilia evolved from a dream of sheer bravado, that of building a city unlike any other on earth here in the wilderness, empty of all human life.  The idea of a centrally-located capital which would open up the interior to economic prosperity and protect it from coastal invasion had been considered for over a century by politicians and clergy alike.  In fact, the Italian bishop Dom Bosco had a sublime vision in 1883 of a “land of milk and honey” to rise between the 15th and 20th parallels in the New World.  Fertile ideas of such a fabulous city began to germinate within the national consciousness.  Presidential candidate Juscelino Kubitschek promised to fulfill this dream if he won.  He became president, and the rest is history.  Brasilia was inaugurated as the new capital on April 21, 1960, some 700 miles northwest of Rio in the geographical center of this immense country.
            As you step foot in Brasilia, it’s unlike anything you’d imagined.  It’s more stunning, more dramatic, more out-of-this-world!  You ask yourself, is this city of visionaries real or a mirage?   The iconic architecture unabashedly rises to meet the bluest and widest of skies in the world.   Most of these monumental buildings were designed by that irrepressible genius of twentieth century architecture, Oscar Niemeyer (1907 – 2012).
The famous dragonfly design of the city, the brainchild of the ingenious urban planner Lucio Costa, set the stage for breath-taking architecture and art.  Oscar Niemeyer’s Metropolitan Cathedral had no precedent in its bold design of sixteen curving panels of white concrete like a colossal flower of life.  Gorgeous stained glass panels designed by Marianne Peretti flood the interior with celestial light and Alfredo Ceschiatti’s three angels of the Annunciation hover seemingly in adoration over the altar.
Here you find the brilliantly conceived convex-concave National Congress and the grand Plaza of the Three Powers. The 25-foot sculpture by Bruno Georgi, the Pioneers/Warriors (“Os Candangos”), commemorates the heroic spirit of those tens of thousands of workers who built this singular city in forty-one months!
The glass-enclosed Itamaraty Palace (the Ministry of Foreign Affairs), the very epitome of grace, seems to be floating in a pool with water gardens designed by Roberto Burle Marx and the enigmatic “Meteor” sculpture by Bruno Georgi.  Within, exquisite sculptures, paintings and gardens designed by the luminaries of the arts enchant the eye at every turn.   The second floor boasts regal dining rooms representing the three capitals: Salvador (until 1763), Rio de Janeiro (until 1960) and now Brasilia, the most architecturally amazing city in the world!

By Lisbeth Holt

Born from a near impossible dream,
Brasilia!  Provocative, evocative,
This miraculous flower of destiny,
Freeing the creative spirits of fearless artists,
Capturing the imagination of sweat-soaked workers
Who arrived to build the city of cities
In the middle of nowhere.  Nowhere?  Not a chance!
Envisioned in 1883 by saint Dom Bosco in Italy,
The dawn of a new civilization near the 15th parallel
In the Americas…Is that nowhere?
In the state of Goias where a massive layer of crystal
Yes!  Crystal covers the earth with its luminosity;
Goias, on the same parallel as western-lying Machu Picchu!
On a gorgeous broad, oh so wide and sweeping, cerrado;
The savannah of exotics, flora, fauna, canyons, waterfalls,
The highlands welcoming the visionaries!
Kubitschek, the president!  Costa of the winged city plan!
Niemeyer, the architect:  soaring curves to meet the sky!
Burle Marx: brilliant gardens delight the eye!
Each destined to create beauty to live forever:
Ceschiatti,  Peretti, Di Cavalcanti, Bulcao, Georgi;
Each glorifying, magnifying, ever defying the naysayers
Who believed this dream an impossibility.
Fifty years have passed since inauguration day.
This city, this incomprehensibly magnificent city,
Brasilia, stands, welcoming the world to come and see
To partake of the dream, to celebrate humanity’s possibilities;
The new dawn of civilization, indeed, here!
In Brasilia!

Two Poems by Michael L. King

Lao Lao
I only met my mother’s mother once;
she came to visit us in Heilongjiang
when I was very young.  My dad said she
could stay with us—and do some work—because
that way my mom would never leave to care
for her when she got old.  Our village got
too cold for her in winter, though, so she
went back to Shandong.  Well, her sons that lived
there never helped her when she got so sick
she had to stay in bed.  She couldn’t walk
or cook or even go to toilet.  Mom
went there and cried when she saw Lao Lao’s bed
so nasty.  Lao Laos hair was all flat, stuck
together.  Mom stayed there with her three weeks.
While Mom was gone my Dad got mad because
he had to care for four kids, cook, and clean
the house all by himself.  When Mom got back
he yelled and swore at her so loud the whole
countryside heard.  About two days before
my mom came home we heard that Lao Lao died.

Vanishing Point Wrap
Equations, figures, conflicts, rule this time
and space.  To find relief, I ride my bike
on trails that wind through woods where light and dark
shadows play on boulders, rotting logs, and
ferns.  I stop by fields to watch as kestrels
hover over hay and dive-bomb down on
mice while woodchucks dig and watch from burrows.
Deer like swamps; they lift their tails and look, and
stomp their hoofs and snort, then bolt for cover
under evergreens.  I read the scenes and
see signs in great diverse designs that greet
my senses.  Thoughts and visions pedal far
to ride where trails that run parallel meet
and wrap together, past the world of math.

A Poem by Kirsten Dierking

around the lake

assents to silence.
All birds

agreed to hush.
All feathers, all fur,

felted thick
with fading light.

The boat comes
to a gentle rest

on the blue cusp
of still water.

Take it with you,
this interlude,

the sweet middle eye
of the storm.

Yooper Guide to Fine Dining
By Terri Martin

Yooper cuisine has two claims to fame: Friday Fish Fry and the Pasty (rhymes with nasty). It used to be that Catholics couldn’t eat meat on Friday, so everyone ate fish or tomato soup or macaroni and cheese, even if they were Lutheran. However, some time in the last millennium, the Vatican rescinded the no-meat-on-Friday mandate. However, up here in Michigan’s Upper Peninsula, restaurateurs did not get the memo, so they continue to offer up a gut bomb called the Friday Night Fish Fry—a practice that really revs up during Lent. I’m pretty sure the sacrifice of meat on Friday was not meant to be substituted with something that is deep fried and served with tartar sauce, fries, slaw, and a couple of beers. Still, it’s a good tradition, eh?
            The pasty started back in the days when there was no cafeteria or vending machines down in the copper mines. Immigrant miners worked long hours under difficult conditions and needed something that would stick to their ribs. The Cornish people invented a dandy little potpie that involved a lard-based crust, meat, veggies and the much-misunderstood rutabaga. More recently, ketchup became the condiment of choice for enhancing the pasty. (Note: there are no Cornish hens harmed in the making of a pasty.) So anyway, the miners carried their pasty pie down into the cold, damp bowels of the mineshaft to enjoy during their dinner breaks. The famed U.P. pasty endures to this day and is served up with ketchup and a side of slaw.

Email Terri4045 at gmail dot com

FinNALA Newsletter Editorial Team:
Terri Martin, Editor-in-Chief
Sirpa Kaukinen, Assistant Editor
Heather Dunne, Blog Specialist
Beth Virtanen, Publisher