Poetry Travels with Anna Blasiak and Lisa Kalloo: Untitled Poem by Johanna Venho, translated by Anselm Hollo

Dance. The song is here. Weeping is song, water flowing out of eyes, struck by the ray. Laughter, when it sounds low, purrs, one won't get cold. Stretch out your hand and take the apple, grab it, take these letters in which we are as touching as people always are for each other: leaning toward each other, asking questions, afraid of being hurt, wrapping small presents in kraft paper, giving, giving. "I hope you like the little ones!" It's all here, the glass jar of raspberry jam, picked the berries myself, made the jam, the message slowly inscribed on a card: I picked these raspberries in the woods, by the side of the pond, and when darkness fell, the pond lit up the forest

Johanna Venho

Translated by the Ansel Hollo

Poem from Joanna Venho’s on the edge of the incomprehensible / käsittämättömän reunalla, Versopolis at Ledbury Poetry Festival 2022.

Johanna Venho was born in 1971 and lives in Espoo, Finland. She has studied comparative literature and biology in the Universities of Helsinki and Jyväskylä and worked as an editor in a broadcasting company Yleisradio, as well as editor-in-chief of Tuli&Savu and Jano poetry magazines. Jano is the first Finnish poetry webzine, which Venho co-founded together with writer Vilja-Tuulia Huotarinen.

Venho works as full time writer and as a part time lecturer of literature and creative writing. She has published five collections of poetry, seven novels for children, several picture books, a collection of nursery rhymes and five novels for adults.

Venho has won numerous prizes of work, among which are the Einari Vuorela poetry prize in 2008 and Eino Leino prize 2019. Her latest poetry book is a collection of poems called Saaren runot (Island Poems), 2017. After that she has published two novels, Ensimmäinen nainen (First Lady, 2019) and Syyskirja (Autumn Book, 2021), which have been translated into several languages. At the moment she is working on a biography and her next novel.

Poet and translator Anselm Hollo was born in Helsinki, Finland in 1934. He lived in England for many years, working for the BBC European Services. In 1967, he moved to the United States and taught at various institutions, including SUNY Buffalo and the Naropa Institute in Boulder, Colorado. Hollo, who was influenced by the Beat poets, was the author of more than forty books of poetry, including Notes on the Possibilities and Attractions of Existence: New and Selected Poems 1965-2000 (2001), which won the San Francisco Poetry Center Book Award; AHOE (1997); Corvus (1995); Finite Continued (1980); and Sojourner Microcosms: New and Selected Poems 1959-1977 (1977). He also published a book of essays, Caws and Causeries: Around Poetry and Poets (1999). His many translations include works by Paavo Haavikko, Selected Poems 1949-1988 (1991), and Pentti Saarikoski, for whose Trilogy (2003) Hollo received the Harold Morton Landon Translation Award from the Academy of American Poets.

Hollo’s many honours and awards included a fellowship from the National Endowment for the Arts, grants from the Fund for Poetry, the Government of Finland’s Distinguished Foreign Translator’s Award, and the Gertrude Stein Award in Innovative American Poetry. Hollo lived with his wife, the artist Jane Dalrymple-Hollo, in Boulder until his death, in 2013.

Photo by Lisa Kalloo

Check out the Poetry Travels book list on bookshop.org.

Read previous poems in the Poetry Travels series:

THE KNOWLEDGE OF EVERYTHING by Eleni Cay, translated by the Author

ALIBI by Ewa Brzoza Birk, translated by Anna Blasiak

PATIENCE by Ziba Kirbassi, translated by Stephen Watts

HARLEQUIN by Arjola Zadrima, translated by Vlora Konushevci

SIRENS by Victoria Amelina, translated by Anatoly Kudryavitsky

JOB: A WOMAN by Dominika Lewicka-Klucznik, translated by Anna Blasiak

BAGS by Blerina Rogova Gaxha, translated by Vlora Konushevci

TONGUEFISH by Yolanda Castaño, translated by Keith Payne

WHAT DO YOU NEED by Friederike Mayröcker, translated by Christina Daub

A WORK OF BIOGRAPHY by Max Jacob, translated by Ian Seed

UNTITLED POEM by Ivano Fermini, translated by Ian Seed


LIGHT by Vasyl Makhno, translated by Olena Jennings

A MESSAGE FROM THE ISLE OF WIGHT by Wioletta Greg, translated by Maria Jastrzębska and Anna Blasiak

HOME by Nataša Sardžoska, translated by the Author

ONLY THE BEGINNING COUNTS (4) by Jan Baeke, translated by Antoinette Fawcett

*** (RABID WINDS) by Gerður Kristný, translated by Rory McTurk

ANSWER TO THE PRAYERS by Vainius Bakas, translated by Kerry Shawn Keys

AGGRESSOR’S MONOLOGUE by Artūras Valionis, translated by Jura Avizienis

THAT’S ALL by Jurgita Jasponytė, translated by Jura Avizienis

UNTITLED by Linas Umbrasas, translated by Audra Skukauskaitė

FIRST SPRING OF THE WAR by Vytautas Kaziela, translated by Jura Avizienis

A LETTER TO A CHILD by Lina Buidavičiutė, translated by Ada Valaitis

UNTITLED by Aneta Kamińska, translated by Anna Blasiak

TWO LYRICS OF LOVE AND MEMORY by Lina Kostenko, translated by Stephen Komarnyckyj

CROW STUDY by Yuri Andrukhovych, translated by John Hennessy and Ostap Kin

UNTITLED POEM by Serhiy Zhadan, translated by John Hennessy and Ostap Kin

UNTITLED POEM by Ludmila Khersonsky, translated by Maya Chhabra

UNTITLED POEM by Iryna Vikyrchak

From THE ANDROMEDA NEBULA by Anna Gréki, translated by Souheila Haïmiche and Cristina Viti

TEAPOT by Nurduran Duman, translated by Andrew Wessels

IT’S COMING AGAIN by Michael Strunge, translated by Paul Russell Garrett

REPORT FROM ANOTHER CITY by Marcin Niewirowicz, translated by the Author

INTERIOR by Ana Blandiana, translated by Paul Scott Derrick and Viorica Patea

THIS IS LOVE by Joanna Fligiel, translated by Anna Blasiak

REVELATION IN H&M by Menno Wigman, translated by David Colmer

*** (I WANT TO FOLD THIS DAY) by Inga Pizāne, translated by Jayde Will

THE SIEGE by Marcin Świetlicki, translated by Elżbieta Wójcik-Leese

FISH by Jana Putrle Srdić, translated by Barbara Jurša

THE WELL by Maarja Pärtna, translated by Jayde Will

THE SHADOW by Pentti Saarikoski, translated by Emily Jeremiah and Fleur Jeremiah

A FAREWELL TO MY DEAD CLASS by Irit Amiel, translated by Anna Blasiak and Marta Dziurosz

THE GIRLS IN BERGEN-BELSEN by Nora Gomringer, translated by Annie Rutherford

DECEMBER, by Jaume Subirana, translated by Christopher Whyte

ROSE RED, by Ulrike Almut Sandig, translated by Karen Leeder

*** (I D[R]IPPED MY PEN…) by Mario Martín Gijón, translated by Terence Dooley

WHAT COMES by Magda Cârneci, translated by Adam J. Sorkin and Mădălina Bănucu

TRANSLATION by Justyna Bargielska, translated by Maria Jastrzębska

*** (MY EYES, DENSE NIGHT…) by Gëzim Hajdari, translated by Ian S

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