Thursday, September 17, 2015

The FinNALA Newsletter

Volume 8, No. 2

Publication of the Finnish North American Literature Association
© September 16, 2015

Beth L. Virtanen, Editor-in-Chief
Sirpa Kaukinen, Assistant Editor
G.K. Wuori, QC Watchdog


Offer your books for sale
at FinnFest 2015 FinNALA Table
FinNALA is planning to have a booth at the tori at FinnFest 2015 in Buffalo. For a small fee of $25 US, you can have your work for sale there, too. If want to make your book(s) available at FinnFest 2015 (Oct. 9-10) in Buffalo, New York, then FinNALA has a great opportunity for you.
For a modest $25.00 (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 a record of all books sold & pay each author for sales of their books
       4.  keep you from having to pay the $400 fee to rent and staff your own sale table
       5.  staff the FinNALA 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, whether they can attend or not.
If you’re interested and will be present at FinnFest, please contact Beth Virtanen, FinNALA president, as soon as possible at bethlvirtanen at

If you are unable to attend FinnFest and wish for your books to be sold at the FinNALA table, please contact the FinNALA president at the email address above so we can make arrangements to make your book available.

It’s time to Subscribe/Renew your Membership for 2015 in the
Finnish North American Literature Association (FinNALA)

The Perks of Membership:
·         Receive online access to Kippis! Literary Journal
·         Receive access to the FinNALA Facebook group
·         Get announcements of what’s happening in the Finnish-North American literary community
·         Get online issues of the FinNALA Newsletter

Membership Fee for 2015
·         $20.00 US

By Mail
·         Send your name and address and your membership fee in the form of a check or money order made out to “FinNALA” to the following address:
                        Beth Virtanen, President
931 Bayshore Road
L'Anse, MI 49946  USA
Use your credit card for online payment
·         Visit us at
·         Click on Membership and submit payment with PayPal
·         You don’t need a PayPal account—look for link to pay with your credit card.
New Book by Karl Luntta
Karl Luntta has  released a collection of short stories from SUNY press called Swimming. It contains "compelling stories of intercultural contact and survival." 

“Karl Luntta’s Swimming takes us from Botswana to America and back to Africa, in short stories that capture humanity from childhood to old age. Luntta’s great strength: crystallizing the moments when lives are changed and the future (as well as one’s memories of the past) is altered.” — John Coyne

Karl Luntta is the author of the novel Know It by Heart as well as numerous travel books. His stories have appeared in International Quarterly, Talking River, and Baltimore Review. He lives outside Albany, New York.
Here is a direct link to the book page with SUNY press:

Matson's "Pie" a Ploughshares Solo

Suzanne Matson's story, "Pie," online as a Ploughshares Solo, is downloadable through Amazon's Kindle Singles <>.  The story has a Finnish strand in the character of Carl, Kathryn's suitor, who is a first-generation American of Finnish parentage.


From Ploughshares"Leaving behind her strict Mennonite upbringing, Kathryn has moved west. America has just won victory in Japan, and a charming older man begins visiting the diner where Kathryn works, taking her out dancing and around town. With her old soldier boyfriends now scattered, and the country flush with postwar happiness, Kathryn takes a chance on her mysterious admirer and moves to Los Angeles with him. But how much does she really know about this new man? In "Pie," acclaimed novelist and poet Suzanne Matson looks at the thrill and danger inherent in the American dream of unrestricted liberty.



Dettmann Releases Historical Fiction:
Courageous Footsteps: A WWII Novel

Fifteen-year-old Yasu Sakamoto loves living in Glenville, California, but Japan’s attack on Pearl
Harbor on December 7, 1941 turns her young life into a devastating nightmare. Anti-Japanese threats appear everywhere—in store windows, painted across buildings and in her school. Her hopes and dreams unravel quickly when President Roosevelt orders the internment of all people of Japanese descent living along the West Coast. Within weeks her family is imprisoned in a camp in eastern California. Surrounded by barbwire fences and the constant watch of armed guards, Yasu and her older brother, Haro, struggle to accept the overcrowded living conditions and hardships of camp life. As time passes, the confinement, strict regulations and humiliation force them to make courageous choices that will change their lives forever.

“Once read, Courageous Footsteps will not be forgotten. Teenagers, Yasu and Haro, show resilience and courage in the face of unwarranted hardship and injustice. It’s an important story relevant even todaythat needs to be discussed, remembered and hopefully will inspire the reader with the courage to stand on the side of justice.—Ann Wolff, President of the Stillwater Library Foundation
Courageous Footsteps A WWII Novel is available at many independent bookstores and online at Amazon, Barnes and Noble in both e-book and paperback. To purchase books directly, send check for $25.00 (includes cost of shipping) to Diane Dettmann, P.O Box 36, Afton, Minnesota 55001-0036.
Visit Diane Dettmann’s website at for information about Courageous Footsteps A WWII Novel (Outskirts Press).

Creative Submissions

Stealing of the Sampo: A tale from Kalevala
translated and illustrated by Hazel Lauttamus Birt 
How the Crane made terrible trouble for the Kalevala heroes.
            The great wizard Väinämöinen and his friends Ilmarinen and Leminkäinen set sail by ship to steal the Sampo, a magic mill from Louho, the wicked witch of the North. She had it hidden in the Copper Mountain.

Crane of Finland (woodcut)
by Hazel Lauttamus Birt
            Väinämöinen picked up his magic harp, the kantele and began to play. In no time everyone on the witch Louho’s North Farm was fast asleep. He then played to the Copper Mountain asking it to release the nine locks and ten bolts holding fast the Sampo, the magic mill that ground out not only good fortune but gold and silver.
            Ilmarinen greased the hinges of the door to stop them from squeaking. He boasted as he entered, ‘I think I’m man enough to wrestle this lid of many colors from the mountain.’ But the roots went fifty-six feet deep into the ground and it was only with the help of a strong steer from the North Farm yard that they finally loosened the mill from the mountain and made off with it in their ship.
            As they sailed along Leminkäinen was jubilant. ‘This calls for a song! Why don’t you give us a song, Väinämöinen?’
            ‘This is no time for singing! Time enough when we get the Sampo  home to Kalevala!’ he said.
            But the reckless, handsome Leminkäinen could not contain himself, arranged his face, cleared his throat and burst into song.
            The raspy harsh roar was heard six farms over across the water.
            The Crane was sitting on a stump in the marsh. The sudden noise so startled him that with a great shriek he flung himself into the air. He flew screaming with rage and circled the North Farm.
            The crane’s shrill cry woke the evil domain. Louhi, the witch ran to check her cattle and grain bins. Nothing was missing. Then she thought, ‘The Sampo!’ She ran to the mountain and found the many colored lid torn off from it’s hiding place.
            Louhi was in a rage. She at once used her magic powers to call down vengeance. ‘Mist Girl, hang out some fog. Let down a haze over the clear sea. Turso, evil man of the sea, drown the men of Kalevala! Ukko, golden king of the air, create a violent storm to stop Väinämöinen from taking the Sampo to his Slack Water Farm!’
Väinämöinen said, ‘A lesser man than I would be daunted by so much disaster but I think I can handle this.’
With his sword he slashed great tears in the mist and dispelled it.
When Turso, the terrible creature of the sea reared his head out of the water, our hero grasped by the ears and would not let until he promised to leave the people of Kalevala alone.
Väinämöinen used powerful magic charms against the stormy sea and violent wind, ‘Water, check your child the Billow! Ahto, quiet the waves!
Vellamo, quiet the genius of the water! Wind, rise back into the heavens, back to your own tribe up on high!’
Thus the Kalevala men brought home the Sampo in triumph despite the harm done by the screaming crane.
<>< <>< <><
Author-Illustrator Hazel Lauttamus Birt. Born in New Finland, Saskatchewan she is fluent in the Finnish language. ‘the Stealing of the Sampo’ is from her book, ‘Festivals of Finland’.  She lives in Winnipeg.
Three Poems
by K. Alma Peterson
Meeting the Photogenic Ancestors 
Freckles of disaster airbrushed out. Sepia 
fatigue blurs the vagaries of romance. 
Innocence its own stock takes. Pansies 
for her palsied mouth. Betrayal a long stem.
Plaid the rules of camp. His grin deepens 
and up go the stakes. Meadow-waves of thick
dark hair rile the cicadas. The stamp of pleasure
bears his name. Unrequited. Lies to answer for.
In Full Leaf
The author, who I'd met 
in passing --- she, the turned 
leaf a-shiver in the semi-sun
and I, an upturned stone
absorbent of her veined text --- 
will spend the altered future 
pulling prints and titling a sequel.

Inhabiting the Disengaged Father

His deerskin night-shoes
make almost no sound. Misgivings
arise in his mind; he lightens
his step when the floorboards creak.
Stops. Steadies himself. A stalwart
boat about to capsize.

No decisions need be made
tonight. His weathered frame
stiffens; so much unnamed
force. His sandbagged family
sleeps behind the wall, waves
him in, a given.

Except this is dry land; his grave
hidden by low hills, wiry pines.
Everything is loamy; even the horizon
shifts, not sure which illusion
to efface.
by Albert Vetere Lannon
            This is a true story.  It is not another bleeding-heart liberal crying towel, but you will have to read it to see that, and why it matters to you.  This is about an illegal immigrant.
            Isaac came from a land of poverty and dictatorship, a land where peaceful protesters were dispersed with violence, where some responded with violence, where military rule was met with assassination.  Faced with conscription, Isaac, like many others, chose to leave.  Alone and scared, the young man braved the many miles of danger to find his way to America.
            America needed the muscle of young men willing to work long hours for little pay, and Isaac was allowed provisional entry.  Not speaking the language he was always the Other, the foreigner, the stranger in a strange land.  He found countrymen, and they made places where they could speak their own language without feeling threatened.  They did things together in the little spare time they had.  They got drunk together to quell the constant fear they felt.  Soon anger replaced fear.  Isaac grew assertive.
            He and his friends joined a rough gang and challenged authority.  When it cost them their jobs they retaliated with violence.  They were labeled “knife-fighters,” and “troublemakers.” With the authorities after him, Isaac crossed the border and went home.
            Things were not any better there than when he had left, but Isaac found a wife and returned to the United States with a new, false, last name.  They were now illegals.  He found work doing the hard jobs others refused.  They had children, sending them to American public schools.  The children never graduated; they, too, had to work, but unlike their parents, they spoke English as well as their native tongue.
            The children, caught between two worlds and labeled as the offspring of foreigners, took on their parents fear and anger, and sometimes acted out.  There were arrests along with rebellion.
My mother was proud of her arrest.  She was sixteen years old and part of a Washington protest against sending scrap metal to Japan to be turned into tools of war, later returned as bombs at Pearl Harbor. 
            Isaac Björklund came from Vaasa Province in Finland to work in the copper mines of the American West, and to escape conscription into the Russian Czar’s army.  He joined the radical union, the Industrial Workers of the World, and fled Butte, Montana, during a bitter strike.  With his new wife and a new, false, name he returned to the United States to work in the steel mills.  They were now illegals.   Isaac and Mary Lund went to the Finn Hall to drink with countrymen.  They never learned much English, but somehow became citizens.  Others did not. 
            Mary and Isaac had three children.  As they quit school to work in factories they learned the customs of their birthplace.  Unlike the descendants of slaves, the “Finlanders,” also derided as “China Swedes” and “roundheads,” could pass.  Many of those first-generation children of immigrants, like my mother, devoted their lives to social justice movements.  They helped make America a better place, fighting for unions and civil rights and women’s equality.  They passed that passion on to their children.
            Those particulars fit several generations of immigrants who came to America from many lands to work hard for low wages, immigrants who faced discrimination and banded together for survival, in unions, communities, gangs and movements.  They came across oceans and met the words on the Statue of Liberty: 
Give me your tired, your poor, your huddled masses yearning to breathe free,
 the wretched refuse of your teeming shore. Send these, the homeless,
tempest-tossed to me.  I lift my lamp beside the golden door!

Immigrants like my grandparents, legal and not, built America.  But without his particulars, Isaac’s story could be a story of today as well as yesterday, and of tomorrow.   It’s our story.  It’s America.
What We Know--What We See
by Gary V. Anderson
My logger friend
paused on our snowshoe walk
and said,
something happened here.

He scraped through
early snow,
then moss,
with his boot;
revealed broken crosscut saw,
runners from sled,
forgotten tools of long ago.

We sat talking
about the war,
difficult work of healing,
loss of soul.
He scraped snow
from my shoulder,
and said,
something happened here.

I recalled a journey:
            A Shaman appeared with an
            opening in his heart.
            Orange light and eyes of a
            raptor were visible.  The Shaman placed a
            ring of orange on my body and a
            raptor came out of my heart. 

and said,
my ancestors acknowledged
my knowing, my seeing.

The logger thought,
and said,
maybe you could find the
ax I lost here last summer.

Gary V. Anderson was raised along the Columbia River.  He has performed at local and national Finn Fests for many years.  His project, The Sami Exhibit, was at the Naselle, WA Finn Fest 2014.
is poems have been published in Kippis!, a Literary Journal of the Finnish North American Literature Association, and Curio Poetry, New York.  He has been featured in performances on Lyle Haataja’s Scandinavian Hour radio show in Astoria.   He recently performed with Gary Stroutsos, world flute player at Dayaalu Center on Bainbridge Island.  He has published two books, My Finnish Soul and Bunchgrass and Buttercups.

Eros Abides
by Lisbeth Holt                                                            
 Without fanfare, Eros unerringly aimed a quivering arrow into my heart.
Oh, it causes distress…
How exactly do I deal with this uninvited guest?
I’ll ignore it, I promise myself, will it away,
Transform it, ruthlessly rip it out…
To no avail:
Firmly implanted for a reason, an unexpected season,
Just for me to comprehend…
A thorn from a rose!
Fragrance redolent of that most beloved of blooms…
A seed promising growth of dormant powers
Emerging into flower…
A pulsing dart giving no peace but awakening
An ecstatic breaking free of false assumptions,
Wintry acceptances…
     A wild rose defying an arid world yearning for sweet rain,
     The sun’s caress in deep rich loam of blessedness.
     Earthy, sensual, Eros abides;
     Spirit-filled, ethereal, no longer a divide.
A bell clamoring within which cannot be stilled:
Reuniting precious forgotten pieces of my soul,
     Now becoming whole.
Finland Summer 2015
by Elsie Jaehn
Finland was cold this summer, the coldest in 25 years so said the local Helsinki newspaper, and we definitely have to agree with that assessment.  When we arrived at our cottage deep in the forest in mid-May, spring was just beginning to unfold.  As the days evolved into weeks and nature took on a grand green dress, the temperatures didn't want to accommodate the season. 
Jackets and socks and shoes took the place of shorts and flip flops as we walked down the gravel road to drink in the beauty of a huge variety of colorful wildflowers that graced the forest floor.  May turned into June and Midsummer Night on the 21st.  The days were looong, and we were visited periodically by a tall species of Canada geese with their brood of 5 goslings that made themselves right at home at the shoreline of the property.  Koskelo diving mother duck with 8 babies on her back came to visit frequently as well.  On an overnight trip to Helsinki to visit with friends, we spent time down near the harbor, the focal point of the city, wandering through the marketplace enjoying the vibrant scenery spread out before us where visitors are able to take scenic boat trips to a variety of local venues, including Tallinn, Estonia, an hour's journey by hydrofoil across the Baltic Sea.
In mid-July the temperatures began to moderate somewhat, and after all the rain we experienced previously, we were able to go into the forest and harvest an abundant supply of Chanterelle mushrooms that we enjoyed with several meals.  In early August, as fall was beginning to make inroads on the season, we were able to pick blueberries and raspberries right on the property that provided added pleasure to our daily breakfast.  Before we left in mid-August, we had a few days of sunshine and temperatures in the low 70s when we could finally discard our jackets.  The night we arrived home in Florida, we were very happy to take a swim in our nice, warm pool that was waiting patiently for our return.
the river, the lifeline
by Anita Erola
in the evening light
the river Danube
reflects buildings illuminated
the water’s sheen mercurial
for musing
journeys past and present
of ancient ships
that navigated their way
this travelers’ waterway
Finno-Ugric speaking DNA
sought their destinies
the waterway link
to ancestral days
and ancestors’ ways
kinship of unrecorded times
struggles of determined lives
and battles survived
persistence forged onward
odysseys to prehistoric futures
across rivers and sea
by moonlight
by north star bright
the compass light
the river, the lifeline
carrying the bloodline
the DNA line
today’s distant cousins
made their way
by water, blood, trade
Finnish and Hungarian words similar
intonation familiar
water vez vesi
blood ver veri
currency valuta valuutta
the connection
the DNA
the lifeline
my connection
my dna
my lifeline