Tuesday, December 8, 2015

The FinNALA Newsletter
Communication of the Finnish North-American Literature Association

Volume 8, No. 3

 Publication of the Finnish North American Literature Association
© December 10, 2015

Beth L. Virtanen, Editor-in-Chief
Sirpa Kaukinen, Assistant Editor
G.K. Wuori, QC Watchdog
It’s time to Subscribe/Renew your Membership for 2016 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 2016
·         $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
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L'Anse, MI 49946  USA
Use your credit card for online payment
·         Visit us at www.finnala.com
·         Click on Membership and submit payment with PayPal
·         You don’t need a PayPal account—look for link to pay with your credit card.

 Announcements and News

FinNALA Website Working on New Look
The FinNALA websits is undergoing renovation. After much research to locate an appropriate web designer, FinNALA is planning a new look in a new webhosting tool. Keep watch for an unveiling in the coming year. In the meantime, do not worry if you wish to update your membership and all you can find on the website is the 2015 renewal form. That form is still operational, so you can use it. Any memberships submitted during this month will be processed for the year 2016. Thanks so much for your patience with this much-needed update.

Membership in the FinNALA Facebook Group Growing
For the past couple of years, FinNALA has operated a private group for its membership to share announcements and updates, and to provide opportunities for networking among its membership. Membership participation has grown and each month sees new members joining the group. Please do feel free to request membership in that closed group in order to share information about your own publications and publications of interest to you, including links to your own websites where your publications might be purchased. As well, readers can share reviews of the works they would like to recommend. FinNALA is pleased to see a vigorous exchange among our members and guests.
To join, simply search for "FinNALA" and request membership. An editor will approve your request quickly.



Dettman's New Book in Print
Diane Dettmann’s book, Courageous Footsteps A WWII Novel, was recently awarded runner-up in the 2015 Great Midwest Book Festival young adult fiction category. Set in a Japanese interment camp in the U.S. Courageous Footsteps is a poignant story of two teenagers, the hardships they face and choices they ultimately make that change their lives forever.


This compelling story pulled me in from the first page. I felt deeply for the hardships Yasu, Haro and their parents were forced to endure.

Diane Dettmann
 —Jane Dunlap, Teacher, St. Paul Public Schools


DIANE DETTMANN is the author of Twenty-Eight Snow Angels A Widow’s Story of Love, Loss and Renewal. She is also the co-author of Miriam Daughter of Finnish Immigrants and a contributing author for the national Women’s Voices for Change organization in New York City. Diane is currently working on the sequel for Courageous Footsteps. For information about her books visit her website at http://www.outskirtspress.com/footsteps.

Finlandia University’s Campus Read Committee announces
Writers of the Northern Persuasion

Finlandia University and the Michigan Humanities Council are sponsoring a project that supports regional authors of all genres. Several authors will be visiting Finlandia University’s campus and making public presentations in March 2016. All presentations will take place Tuesdays at 4:15 p.m. at the Chapel of St. Matthew on the FinnU campus, Hancock, Michigan. There is no charge to attend any of the events. Books will be available for purchase.

March 15th       Andrea Scarpino, U.P. Poet Laureate. Her book of poetry Once, Then has been selected as the spring 2016 Finlandia University Campus Read

March 22nd      Sonny Longtine, author of five books of non-fiction, most notably Murder in Michigan’s Upper Peninsula.

March 29th       John Smolens, author of eight novels and a collection of stories. His latest, Wolf’s Mouth, will be released in February.

An all-author forum will take place on Saturday, April 9th, from 10:00 to 4:00, at Finlandia’s Finnish American Heritage Center. This will be open to all regional authors and will include book sales along with other events yet to be determined. There is no charge for participants, but registration will be required. Contact Terri Martin if you would like more information or would like to be on the list to receive future information for the events and registering for the all-author forum. terri.martin@finlandia.edu or 906 487-7512

This project is funded in part by the Michigan Humanities Council, an affiliate of the National Endowment for the Humanities.

Rossi and Brooks Have New Book Out

“No Home for My Heart” by Karen Rossi (AKA Kaarina Brooks) is coming out as an e-book Fri. Dec. 4 on Amazon.com as well as their European sites in England, Germany, and France, B&N, and All Romance e-Books. Over the next couple of weeks, they’ll also start appearing on Kobo and a few smaller retailers thereafter.
Sometimes, love is not enough...
No Home for My Heart
Marshall Kenton is content with her life. She's got two great kids and a good man who loves her. It's a far cry from her tumultuous past and the bitter memories of life with her alcoholic ex-husband, Robert. After nearly fifteen years of healing for herself and her eldest child, who has never outrun the demons of his ravaged childhood, Marshall has finally found a place of peace. But when, after  a family funeral, Robert reappears into her life, her hard-won peace is destroyed. She'd be mad to even look at the man, but she can't help the feelings he kindles within her, this intense, passionate man who was—and, she learns, still is—her true love.
Recovering alcoholic Robert Kenton can't pull himself away from the woman standing before him. He knows the hell he put her and his children through—the baby girl who doesn't even remember him, and the son who will never forgive him. Shrouded by remorse, but unable to walk away, he tells Marshall he will prove to her that he's a different man, and that he will always be the man who loves her. He's been dry for years, runs his own construction company, and has a beautiful sailboat moored out in the bay. But when he takes the family out for a sail, a storm rises that threatens not only the delicate truce between them, but their very lives. And even then, the ghosts of the past don't always rest easy...

Creative Submissions

Calendar with Doors 
Eero Sorila 
Christmas, the noblest among feasts -‘Joulu juhlista jaloin’ is an old Finnish saying.
     How true the saying rings specifically when I recall Christmas times as a child in my native Finland.
     As the first born son among six siblings I had certain privileges in the pecking order. One was mostly due to the fact that I was taller than my younger brothers and sisters.
      In our childhood ‘ kamari’- living room, the pre-Christmas spirit was heightened to a fever pitch, due to an wall-calendar. The Advent- calendar hung above our heads in a teasing manner. Fortunately standing on toes helped to gain a direct view of it.
      After waking up in the cool December mornings, my first move was to make a B-line to the calendar. The ‘pönttö uuni’ which was like a ten feet high barrel used for heating the house had not been fired up by the time I sprinted from my bed. The excitement made me warm, no matter how cold it was. 
     Each day was numbered in the calendar with a small door. Words cannot describe the excitement of flipping open a new door each morning, which had a Christmas related picture inside. The picture could be of anything imaginable about Christmas, a Santa clause wrapping gifts, the elks stirring porridge etc.
      It was equally exciting for me to tell my shorter siblings what I had seen inside the small door.
      As I grew up to adulthood in North America my curiosity to open many other doors in life continued, but I will never forget the Calendar with doors.
     To me, Christmas remains to be the noblest among feasts.
Photo by Eero Sorila

Come in stranger
      My travels took me to Malaga, Spain where I opened a door to a room which I had rented in an old house. I was on the other side of the Atlantic Ocean without knowing a soul. The warm memories of Christmas at home and among loved ones intensified my loneliness. I had never spent a Christmas alone.  A knock on the door broke the silence.
      I had at least learned  one word of Spanish; ‘ se’- yes to respond to the knock. The elderly landlady with graying hair and a prominent nose said that she is going out to spend Christmas with her relatives. Her gaze had an inkling of pity as she looked at me.
      After her words ‘ Feliz Navidad ‘ – Merry Christmas, she slammed the door with a bang. It was to prevent the cold air from entering my room. A good gesture.
     After the bang, I  laid in bed on my back and stared up. The embossed metal ceiling was my Christmas decoration. Using my imagination I could think of a glowing Christmas candle.
     Intense darkness covered the windows and crept into my soul.
It was 11:30 pm. I could not take it any longer. I got up and went out. The warm wind blew lustily from the Mediterranean Sea as I walked along the ‘ Malecon’ – seaside promenade, to the center of Malaga.
     There I found a big cathedral. The massive door was wide open as if beckoning,’ come in stranger’. As I walked into the cathedral the choir was singing. I did not understand the words, but the melody was familiar. The notes of, Silent Night, Holy Night, fell into my heart like drops of warm‘glögi’- Christmas drink in Finland.
      Spiritually nourished, I returned to my room and fell asleep, a stranger no more.


301 kph on a Bullet Train
M.L. King
While stilled scenes flee before they’re seen, sways strung
ever eastward fling sudden jolts from right
left.  Wheels spun to max grind iron rails,
whose shrieks a peaking charge
suppresses.  Splayed
for bids to move about,
folks reach for what
was stowed, do belly flops
on luggage dropped

when westward bullets hurtle past.  I clutch
overhead rack, strive to stay upright.
Conductors scowl, check my ticket, advise

I seek an unclaimed seat since I insist
they not remove a mother with her child
from mine.  I struggle to a vestibule,
press beside a window, from which I mark
walls outside are frenzied in haste to hide
exploited lands before their views are known.
Home Port
Josef Aukee
Think of all the places
Been to, seen and done, escaped
At ease and longing for a replacement
When none is needed or desired
Open up to the never-ending possibilities
Safety in comfort zones
Songs of familiarity
Blooms never noticed
Walkways never walked
My anchor, my coil, my hopefulness
Resting here among the slips
Carried over from the past unseen
Until the break of day
The small bits of time recovered
In the spontaneous gatherings on ships
Pointed toward the sea
Looking out for adventure
The homeport
Where time stands tallest on the whole
Anchor up but tethered
To people, land, water, memory
It’s a sinking feeling
When the railings need a sanding
The rip in the jib mending
The hold a cleaning
The crew replacing
Think of all the places
Yet to go
Think of all the places
Still to hear of
Think of all the places
That could have chosen us
Think of all the places
Underneath the moon
Think of all the places
We call our own
Think of places
Think of here
Just think
How the tide cures
Colors the day
How the sky reminds
Gives directions
Uncovers currents
About how we’ll navigate our ways
Four-Part Harmony
Josef Aukee 
Build a chord one note at a time
Sometimes a melody calls out the progression
Other times the bass line gives the cue
Words themselves often offer a clue
Winter can chill the tonal landscape
Strings bent like wind on cypress trees
Horns determine the midnight moon
The young build a repertory of style
Linguistic maneuvers that reflect a mentor
Experiments and fast cars to expedite the high
Deferments and false starts build character
Spring choices are now or never, risk or regrets
Voices echo in memories rare to dispose
Lyrics cemented in hooks to hang a hat
In a rush come work and love and buying things
It takes extra stanzas, codas and crimes of rhythm
Rush into minor keys and starry promises
The chorus returns in a jazzy variation
Summer brings a hot percussive interlude
Woodwinds roar an ocean’s breaking wave
Cymbals crash and foghorns moan a diminished view
Every choir distinguishes itself with character
An urbane appeal, a croon, a children’s fable in unison
The voices mingle, color in the tone, tell a story
In ageless cathedrals a pipe organ offers sage advice
Autumn becomes the sentiment of major resolutions
Guitars amp-up in strength like polyphonic madrigals
A composer scribbles each note in mind on the staff
Configuring the harmony ready for those who will listen
A Simultaneous Sting of Bees
Charles Peltosalo
Ridgeland, SC
21 Nov. 15
Shocked into the moment or knocked out from that moment by
The simultaneous sting of bees,
2 non-local souls occupy same space,
A particle of soul occurring in 2 places at once against higher
Plane and lower level-
A shift of each other’s cords framed by
The deceptively plain hard flat floor of white-spiked
Green at dimensions’ ends.
Cross-hatched by the warp and weave of some geomancer’s
Chalk-paint lines dividing up the day from moments before
Or after, the synchronous jolt creates
2 particles in space the same.
All essentials sweated out by the Chesapeake’s assault on my
Tree-line timing, I rust and freeze in rapid waves.
Just a rock or two of NaCl from shaker on porch table will
Unlock my retinal muscles, free my eye,
Maybe my heart’s smaller muscles will unstiffen
Or my lungs,
Or relax other myriad organs to life,
Not tighten towards death’s dark and painful doors.
As you walk past my yard, full of thoughts of me that
Have survived the seasons,
I consider you’re the last sight I’ll see
As we’re both stung by a simultaneous sting of bees.
The last sting was set this endless afternoon we inhabit-
Cloudless skies cloaking the gathering bolt;
It was a thunderclap of happenstance,
A drop of nectar wrung from May’s fine clover.
Back to back at Father’s wake,
The center of the Gibson Island rotunda,
Unnoticed by the other, facing the wheel’s turning mourners,
Like a tidal bore we reflected in the other’s surface
Flowing past and through each other.
Our 2 directions splay mighty outwards while
An enormous charge builds between our slaved particles
As they spark madly towards the next horizon.

Book Review

by Beth Virtanen

Dettmann, Diane. (2015). Courageous Footsteps: A WWII Novel. Denver, CO: Outskirts Press. ISBN: 978-4787-5558-6
Dianne Dettmann has created a heart-wrenching masterpiece in her latest work, Courageous Footsteps: A WWII Novel. In it, she tackles the topics of inequity, bigotry, and intolerance in an unemotional manner which allows the hard truths that underpinned (and perhaps still do) American culture to come to the fore for examination in this her latest work.
The novel shares the story of a middle-class Japanese-American family made up of a teenaged girl Yasu, her brother Haro, and their shopkeeper parents as the country is swept up in the anti-Japanese hysteria following the bombing of Pearl Harbor. The primary narration is through the eyes of Yasu, the high-school girl whose future is upended

The Japanese-American family strives to preserve some dignity while they suffer the loss of nearly all they possess—their means of livelihood, their possessions, their home, their security, and almost their dignity. In this dark tale, life goes from bad to worse in terms of living conditions and prospects for the future, especially when Haro is drafted to serve on the European front and leaves young Yasu with her parents in the detention camp.  
In a nearly absurd parallel, Yasu’s high school friend, a white, middle-class girl, completes the plans that both girls had set before themselves of going to college and seeking their individual success. The letters shared between the two serve to highlight in stark contrast their prospects, which at the opening of the story had been identical. One girl is detained and forced into manual labor in the detention camp while the other completes high school and is accepted at Berkeley.
The maddening and relentless progression of the story is unavoidable, and readers resists at every turn what we know is coming, until there is a surprising and ambiguous turn of events that allows for Yasu’s accidental shift in fate that suggests a slightly more hopeful, but clearly uncertain, future.  Yasu’s opportunity, we know, is not to some utopian ideal. It is, at best, a transition to a new kind of struggle, but perhaps one that holds somewhat less pessimism than what is located in the detention camp.
This novel is sensitively written, incorporating a complex narrative structure that shifts in perspective among the principle characters. Although told predominantly from Yasu’s point of view, the passages from the other perspectives allow for a richer narrative experience and a greater understanding of the central issues at play that created the diverse outcomes for members at various locations within the social and ethnic hierarchy of the day. While written for and receiving honors as young-adult fiction, this work is suitable for a general audience as well.
Dettmann is author of Twenty-Eight Snow Angels: A Widow’s Story of Love, Loss and Renewal and co-author of Miriam: Daughter of Immigrants. This latest novel, building on the two earlier and well-received works, embodies her greatest achievement to date. 




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