Sirkka Turkka’s work is as exciting as it is mysterious. Emily Jeremiah’s translation
is, so far as a non-Finnish speaker can tell, excellent. Especially in poetry, where tone is so subtle, a translator the reader trusts is a matter of life and death.
Sirkka Turkka’s poetry immerses the non-Finnish reader in the sublime landscape so often sought from Nordic literature and art: a world of forest cabins, wood smoke, bilberries and lakes, all subtly lit by the shifting seasons. But this assured selection of translations also glimmers with hints of the poet’s ambivalent relationship to notions of ‘home’. And like an ice field punctuated with the first bright hints of spring, her poetry is enlivened by an absurd, riddling humour, and a playful affection for animals — in particular dogs, who lope like comic psychopomps through her later work. Turkka, a major poet, dips her pen in the inks and colours of her native land in order to draw her own unique vision of the human condition.