Friday, January 31, 2014

FinNALA Newsletter February 1, 2014 Volume 7, Number 1

FinNALA Newsletter

February 2014, Volume 7, Number 1

Publication of the Finnish North American Literature Association

© February 1, 2014

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2014 Membership for Finnish North American Literature Association (FinNALA)
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FinNALA Website Updated
The FinNALA website is updated. At, where you can find 2014 renewal information, a new source for Finnish Crime Fiction in translation, and advertising opportunities for your particular needs.



Kippis!  (will be) taking submissions for our next edition.  Do send us your short story, essay, memoir, poem, or artwork.  We can’t guarantee fame and fortune but, if your work is accepted, you will be read by a thoughtful and sympathetic audience.  Don’t be shy!  Take the leap!  For further information on submission guidelines or to send your work contact gkwuori at hotmail dot com.




Red Metal

The Copper Country Strike of 1913

February 20th Showing at Finlandia University

The documentary Red Metal: The Copper Country Strike of 1913, will be shown on February 20 at the Chapel of St. Matthew on the campus of Finlandia University, Hancock, Michigan, at 4:15 p.m. Film consultant Steve Lehto will be at the presentation and available for questions and answers. For further information on the presentation, contact Terri Martin at terri dot martin at Finlandia dot edu
This hour-long film, which recently aired on PBS, was produced by Jonathan Silvers and Robert Y. Lee of Saybrook Productions and tells the story of the strike which shut down the copper industry in the Keweenaw in 1913.
Steve Lehto appears in the film and served as consultant for the project.  Some of Mr. Lehto’s books will be available for purchase and signing. The DVD will also be available to buy.

DVD now available through Public Radio: or Amazon:
Finnish Settlements in Manitoba, Canada
Information Sought
The Finnish Club of Manitoba is gathering stories for a history of people with a Finnish heritage from the earliest immigrants, late 1800's, right up to the present. The Finnish settlements in Manitoba will be featured as well as stories from individuals. Very little has been recorded about the Finns in our province. If you have any information please contact Hazel Lauttamus Birt, hgbirt at shaw dot ca or phone 204-888-6743.
Road Scholar 2014
“Finnish-America’s Copper Country and the
Sibelius Academy Music Festival”

September 22-27, 2013

Hancock, Michigan
Finlandia University will again host a Road Scholar (formerly Elderhostel) program, which will immerse participants in the Finnish-American culture and history of the Copper Country. The program will feature lecture presentations, a field trip, workshops, Finnish cuisine, folk dancing, and most notably the finale concert of the Sibelius Academy Music Festival.  In addition, the Road Scholars will visit a copper mine, a mineral museum, and enjoy the spectacular scenery of the Porcupine Mountains Wilderness State Park.
            More information can be found on the Road Scholar web site program # 20651RJ.


2013 Road Scholars learn how to make a vasta/vihta from
birch branches (for switching in the sauna)
Kivisto Receives Honorary Doctorate
Peter Kivisto was awarded an honorary doctorate from the Faculty of Humanities at the University of Turku this past May.  Peter Kivisto and University of Helsinki sociologist Osten Wahlbeck edited Debating Multiculturalism in the Nordic Welfare States (Palgrave Macmillan, 2013)
Here is Peter exiting the cathedral after the ceremony. Pretty snazzy!



White Rabbit
By K.A. Laity

K.A. Laity’s new novel, White Rabbit, will be out from Fox Spirit Books this April around Easter. It's a slightly supernatural crime novel about a disgraced detective, a murdered socialite and a mysterious drug cult. Bestselling author James Oswald says, "The mystery was deftly played with just the right balance of action and character interplay to keep me turning the pages."
Laity also has novellas out this month under two noms de plume: the noir tale of obsession Extricate as Graham Wynd, also from Fox Spirit Books, and The Big Splash, a sprightly Jazz Age romp as Kit Marlowe from Tirgearr Publishing.



The Englishman
Can love go the distance?
By Helena Halme


When a young Finnish student, Kaisa, is invited to the British Embassy cocktail party in Helsinki to celebrate a Royal Navy visit to Finland, she’s not looking for romance. After all, her future has been carefully planned: she’s to complete her degree, marry her well-to-do Finnish fiancé and live happily ever after. Enter the dashing Peter, a newly qualified naval officer. Like a moth to a flame, Kaisa falls head over heels in love...Can the love between Kaisa and the Englishman last and go the distance?
A stylish 1980s Nordic love story, The Englishman is based on true events.
Available at for $9.95. Below is the link for the online version:

Helena Halme grew up in Tampere, central Finland then moved to Sweden in her early teens. Halme studied Political Science in Helsinki, and moved to Britain in 1985. There she spent the first ten years as a naval wife and worked as a journalist for the BBC. In 2004 Helena received a master’s degree in Creative Writing and has since written three novels: The Englishman, Coffee and Vodka and The Red King of Helsinki, all of which are set in Finland and published on Kindle. Helena now lives in London where she runs Finn-Guild, which is a Finnish Expat charity.

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.


Finnish Log Construction--The Art

By F.W. Eld

The Finns introduced the log cabin to America.  Finnish Log Construction-The Art tells their story.  This book details in a scholarly, yet understandable manner, the unique log construction developed in Finland and brought to America. Their method of squared and tightly fitted logs with locked corners was used in New Sweden Colony and later by Finnish immigrants in the northern United States and Canada.  They perfected log construction to an art. The author has documented hundreds of remaining examples, some preserved, others falling prey to time. These Finns have never been recognized for their art-until now.
Contact: ImFinn at iclouc dot com $26.95 plus $6 S&H
Box 657, Donnelly, Idaho, 83615
Editor's Note: Hanka Homestead, located in Michigan's Upper Peninsula (Pelkie, south of Houghton/ Hancock) has a restored house and several outbuildings featuring this log construction. Consider a visit! 

Creative Contributions

Prose, Poetry, & Memoir


Two Poems by Michael King

Prelude from Lightning Ride: a Descent by Bicycle
Rhyming Rider rides
Custom Cruiser, races
Dawn: pink and purple
flames from Her chariot’s wheels
stretch across the sky. 
The heavens turn to peach
and orange as Helios ascends
the eastern horizon. 
The morning ride stretches past noon— 
in a grove of drowsy apple trees,
beside a row of blossoming hawthorns, 
bike and rider stop for rest.
Robins pluck worms from the damp, late
Spring ground.  Forged by Hephaestus, carefully
welded together into a sturdy
diamond-shaped frame by His skillful
hands, the shiny metal, rounded
rails of the quick chariot’s chassis
send white shafts of reflected sun 
into the roof of leaves that brush
together and swish out a swirling
harmony above the dozing page. 
Pillars of golden light step lively 
to the wandering rhythms of brief breezes,
which branches with pink and white flowers
and red fruits follow as they pass.
Shadows dip and sway beside
their bright, late-day dance partners, who,
one-by-one, slip out of sight,
and retire to silk-lined bedchambers
somewhere beyond the grip of Night.

Slapped by a sudden gust of wind,
the custom machine falls to the ground;
stainless steel spokes
twirl—the freewheel clicks.
The blue sky retreats to the west.
Spewing black and gray mist,
massed in dagger-shaped phalanxes,
groaning thunderclouds advance from the east.
Poseurs’ Ed.

Reward incompetent bootlickers, heinous chiefs
of an assumed world school procured below Zhang’s port:
they pose no threat to your corruption.  Profits flow
to your pretenses, farcical yet they endure
despite your students’ failures, bared in true reports
concealed by you.  The model city you deceive
hears only lies you spew, reads only advertised
success, and the affluent pay extortionate
tuition fees.  The wealthy parents spend much more
when two thirds of their cozened kids fail, never go
to colleges abroad.  Of those that do about
four fifths flunk out, return before they finish one
semester; done, they drive their Benz to walking streets
on bulldozed swamps beside the Changjiang, where you skulk.
Dactylicus at gmail dot com

= (a poem title)
By Lauri Anderson

Universe = poetry
          Poetry = universe
God = poem w/o beginning,           end                   (or middle)
Devil = an ellipsis
Good intentions = cotton candy
                                           wrapped around the barrels of assault rifles
A Finn is stolid existence—sisuesque rhythm, sleety rhyme
The creation of mankind = Earthquake
                                                   An unnatural disaster

The acceleration of every [          ] is a – through expanding poetry
                          authored by Einstein et al                or maybe some other Jew
                                                                on a plastic cross

It doesn’t matter.  We’re all the chosen Poem’s chosen life forms,
                                                    even Finns     (and Tongans)     (and whales)
And Melville?  He too is extra-cetological.


Destitute in Paris
By Eero Sorila

After spending a few weeks in Paris I was broke. An alarming message was sent to a friend in Finland: “Please send me some large bills by registered mail.”  A handful of coins, for the moment, kept starvation at bay.
A small bakery was a good source of cheap pastries—a  substitute for pulla-Finnish coffee bread. Luckily, free tap water washed down my pastries. It was important to stretch my coin reserve as far as possible.
            After meeting a couple in the Parisian Finnish community, I was invited to stay with them until the arrival of the money. Over a week passed without results. Finnish bashfulness took over and I was embarrassed to stay with the considerate couple any longer. I embraced the world of the destitute.
             I had no idea where I would spend the night. Many Finnish artists, writers and musicians, like Akseli Gallen-Kallela, Helen Shederbeck and Jean Sibelius had lived in Paris but they all had comfortable accommodations.
             As the evening was getting chilly I managed to buy a Metro ticket. I rode the rails until the Metro closed at 1:00 am.
            The famous Arc de triomphe greeted me as I finally made my exit above ground. 
             I still had no idea where to spend the night. A cast iron bench, decorated in Art Nouveau motifs, became my ice box bed.
            It was still dark at 5:00 a.m. when I walked to a nearby McDonalds.  Once again I was counting pennies in the palm of my hand. Fortunately there were enough coins for a cup of hot chocolate.
             A large muscular black man, resembling the past boxing champion Mike Tyson, took my order. He looked at my haggard face, stubbly and pale after a cold night, and handed over the hot chocolate and said: “It is on the house.”  Being fully surprised but thankful, I went out to the street singing an old Finnish song about a lucky night traveler- Tänä yönä onni suosii kulkijaa.
            After my “lucky” night those coveted large bills arrived from Finland, and I was no longer destitute in Paris.


The Eiffel Tower was somewhere behind my back as I shivered the night away on a cast iron bench.

Two Poems
By Russell Jokela

Mt. Emei, China    (on an excursion with my father)


And I am here.
the sun rising again
over the endless sea of Sichuan
her soft lovely hand pressed against
the back of the bus seat
seen from atop
 the lush mounts and forests of Emei
the other arm holding a child
and the moon in half
already in the midst of blue
And I am here.
traveling together over stone bridges
over mountain streams
the Chinese smile hand in hand
and chatter unrestrained
past bamboo groves, brush
wild hardwood and softwood forests
thickets and plantations of corn
we make acquaintance as readily
on steep hillsides in the early dark


Emei air is clear and palatable
the waters too, from mountainsides return
in broken rivers, of broken valleys we pass
lie scattered boulders like cracked skulls
crowned with high-water bamboo and grass
And I am here.
she rests her hand on mine
to speak          
from her pearl head, black nylon hair
ripe raspberry lips
through foothill forests on foot
we press hard over ascending stones
to this elephant lotus temple, high in the hills
of bells, and chants, and smells, and monks
our sweat, and the air
as dense as Asian summer
And I am here.
the highest art is nature’s part
to bend and mold and turn around
forever in this fashion
she strolled up to the ancient pond
bathed and combed in riveting dress
frogs cried out eternal attraction
and fish displayed their naked art
revealing to all her mortal reflection
though flesh and bones of Chinese oil
And I am here.
to smell and taste and hear again
the foliage, the firmament, her ready smile
bathing in the sun’s last rays
draped in moments long since passed
we reveled in what couldn’t last.

On the Disappearance of Divinity

from the face of earth
in forgotten ages already,

aloft in out-stretched wings
of a phoenix to the stars

from a hermit’s fire
rose up a Chinese mountain

or plummeted to an Indian seabed
and disappeared into silt

bequeathed us to ruin
to our hollow selves

I’ll hear a remnant in the wind
at times, a flutter
perhaps see an ethereal wisp,
a psychedelic beam dissipating
and all I desire
into eternity trace
that atmospheric bird


Two Poems
By Lisbeth Holt

The images before us intrude deeply into our cells.
Like mirrored replicas
What our eyes see, our minds think, our emotions feel:
instantaneously absorbed within.
It’s not just a passing fancy, you see.
The violent cinema, the inane trivia, the obscene greed,
All transferred into our vulnerable being!
Insidiously we become more like what we see.
Therefore, today…
Be vigilant with what enters your receptive being!
Protect your purity, your wild and creative heart!
Exchange eternal ideas face-to-face;
Converse about what inspires and ennobles!
Explore the sheer beauty of seascape, mountain, desert;
Share a picnic by the sea; host an exuberant garden party!
Stroll amidst elegant cities with soaring architecture…
Reflect quietly. 
You hear the music. 
Transform your world into your essential truth!


A golden goddess I will never be
That of your fantasies
Yet you must know it’s me I like to be!
That image you have in your mind
Cannot upset my equilibrium:
Each woman is a goddess born
And but needs to embrace her destiny.
Why would I not then appreciate
This faithful body which houses my spirit,
These brown tresses turning to silver,
Blue-gray eyes like glistening stones on Baltic shores?
Why would I not celebrate
What the Fates have dealt me:
This passionate heart, this resilient mind,
These candid emotions, swift, deep, strong?
Each woman has an alluring myth all her own
And a multi-dimensional reality.
Illusions are just insubstantial fleeting things…
When you see a golden goddess, admire as you will:
I know it’s me you love and I who love you still.

    Lisbeth Holt travelbylis at aol dot com


Three Poems
By Diane Dettmann

Miniature blades
Of grass
Cradle white clover blossoms
As the great pine,
A monument
Of muted greens,
Stretches deep
Into the evening sky.
Images of clouds pierced
By ancient trees
Replaced by skyscraper spires
Of wealth and power.
Memorials of bough and bark
Lost forever.
Light fades into darkness.

The earth’s soul
My heart
The day
I met you.
Our hearts and breath
Entwined in the valley
Filling us with
Layers of love
In the evening fog.


Chocolate cake the perfect food
With vanilla ice cream the texture’s fine,
The cocoa so healthy
Better than wine!
Eat the chocolate layers for breakfast
Church socials or teas.
Piled high with whipped cream
And chopped walnuts,
Chocolate cake sure beats
Cooked peas!

Diane Dettmann is the author of Miriam Daughter of Finnish Immigrants and Twenty-Eight Snow Angels A Widow’s Story of Love, Loss, and Renewal which was recently named runner-up in the “Beach Book Festival Awards”. Diane’s shared her writing at local author events, festivals and international conferences in Finland and Canada. Diane’s website:


Two Poems
By Charles Peltosalo
Sailing the Geologic Sea
Give me a high plains sage, rolling a dusty green
Up and over a mountain range, sailing the geologic sea.
Let me ride the sandstone waves and
Toss and glide in the rubbly red scree;
Send me off where canyons wind
Through granite boulders’ company.

Like high desert fox in the breaks and draws
Dance in and vanish without a trace,
Give me the golden’s wings to disappear on
Summer winds above the prairie’s face.
Grant me the hooves and the paws of the desert elite,
Antelope and coyote’s muscly feet,
The hawk’s sharp claws on the juniper’s branch,
The lizard’s prickled cactus retreat.

Send me away under warm Summer moons,
Let my spirit ride broad rolling silver-lit dunes.
Jagged heights of far ranges to a soul hold no mystery
That my far-roving mind cast adrift surely won’t see.
Let the wide open plains forever beckon me
Far from the shores of the crowding society,
With badger and eagle and mule deer please reckon me
Gone sailing the geologic sea.


Honeysuckle potions
Suntan oiled pearly voodoo
Carolina Sea and Ski
Myrtle Beach Boardwalk strolling in a sweat-crystalled shimmer,
Unite in breezes blown from a hidden ocean,
Visits me homesick on the mountain,
Soothes the stray in me.
Black-water swamp scenes come to me sing-song with Summer smells,
Plant bright flowers at my feet,
Whisper childhood rhymes forgotten by
Dirt road ponds Saturday found
Bamboo pole bream-ready.

I remember lazy mornings:
Misty Southern days by yellow-pollened pines.
Cardinals sing in carnations there,
Blue jays rail at squirrels.
Green is green there, not a pale shade tired by
Snow-suffered Winters,
But a celebration of life unfurled,
Jungle-rich, Wysterian,
Magnificent in lusty twining growth,
Exultant in strong sun,
Bird-infested, flower-strewn.

Now I lace my feet in leather boots,
Scale jagged granite oyster,
Wander chiasmic canyons and bareback mountains set like
Seashells on a planetary shore,
Traverse the snow-bound ridges of
Wind-ice crystals powdered into frozen dunes unshifting
And dream of June’s first week:
Cutoff jeans by the Atlantic,
Flip-flops on the burning sand,
Convertible Camaros geared to rayon,
Blonde bikini drag race.
Searching for a magic lady to share the Southern Summer’s spell,
Finding mountain girls from West Virginia lonely with desire.
Everyone has been too cold too long
So they gather round driftwood bonfires burning on the beach at night.
I remember dizzy evenings spent slow-dancing to the Drifters underneath pavilion moons
While all the palmettos warmly whispered:
“Hold her closely, kiss her long.
She’ll be gone in some short tomorrow,
She’ll be a memory way too soon.”

0430 quiet town, laying prone
Sprawled, tired, asphalt-spent,
Dropped to the Earth’s floor like a fallen coat of
Sequined lights tossed in a corner at the end of the day.
A boulevard of heatless fire from the river bridge to
Broadway glows luciferinous,
Softly beams like a fallen flight of mercury vapor fireflies.
They cast bronzed-grey shadows on the up-rim hills,
Spread silhouettes born of neon to the wild.
Predawn town without ignitions
Sleeping autos
Western man off astral
The lightly tripping morning star
Earth relaxed deep in its’ planetary dreams
The silent planet’s hour.

An attic passage opens as you leave the valley
Reveals old ceremony sites on the mountain
Pause and pray a moment there
Dig deep as you can go underneath old Europe,

Rhyme with songs the rocks are making,
Blend with the subtle attentions of lichen streaming off to space,
But, look up early,
Look up to the mystery-strewn sky:
Jupiter courted by Saturn wheels around the gibbous moon
That shines on Mars from its’ black cape like
An iridescent weasel eye peeled attentive, prey-wary.
Be nothing, yet everything special;
Be a milkman before the dawning,
A paperboy who roams,
Be a restless hiker from the valley
Anonymous in star-patched morning,
Anonymous, but not alone.

Photo by Charles Peltosalo
Can you come up with a good caption?
(Do not use these lame examples:)

            So, do you come here often?

            What’s a nice tortoise like you dong in a place like this?

            My sign’s Taurus—I bet yours is TORTOISE?

Waiting for Climate Change
(Not really a poem, more of a rant)
By Terri Martin
Swirling vortex of snow dust
Like albino locusts attacking my beams
Rendering visibility poor
White road, black ice
Invisible stop sign
Mailbox gone; damn plow
Poor gas mileage
Dead battery
Hungry deer wait for corn
Dog won’t pee; too cold
Eat too much
Drink too much
Cuss too much
Sleep too much
Talk about the weather too much
Waiting for climate change
Urge to kill Al Gore
FinNALA Newsletter Editorial Team:
Terri Martin, Editor-in-Chief
Sirpa Kaukinen, Assistant Editor
Beth Virtanen, Publisher