Translations of contemporary Finnish lyric poetry by Doug Robinson
In Finnish, to translate is to turn. Turnings are translations. But translations are then also turnings, as when you are looking someone you care for in the eye and then turn slightly, your gaze shifting to the right or the left, away. Turning is parting. To translate is to lose something, a connection but it is also to open up new paths, new roads into vision.
These turnings are lyric poems by contemporary
Finnish poets, men and women writing in the last three or four decades.
Or rather, they were. They were Finnish poems until I turned them into
English poems. The collection reflects this turn as well: the meandering
pathways the poems pick their way down are by and large English, or perhaps
American, taking shape and direction not from any existing Finnish collection
but from the minddrifts of their translator. This is not a representative
sampling of contemporary Finnish poetry. It is an inward journey.