In Association with Amazon.com

Choose another writer in this calendar:

by name:
A B C D E F G H I J K L M N O P Q R S T U V W X Y Z

by birthday from the calendar.

Credits and feedback

TimeSearch
for Books and Writers
by Bamber Gascoigne


Lauri Pohjanpää (1889-1962) - surname until 1906 Nordqvist

 

Prolific Finnish poet, theologian, best known for his fable poems. Between 1910 and 1960, Pohjanpää published over fifty works, collections of poems, memoirs, novels, religious books, plays, short stories, essays, and hymns. He also assisted the writer Juhani Aho with his book Kuvia ja kuvitelmia Suomen historiasta (1915). Pohjanpää's poems show the influence of Eino Leino, Heinrich Heine, and V.A. Koskenniemi.

Kaksi vanhaa, vanhaa varista
nuokkuu hiljaa pellon aidalla.
Ruskea on rinta kaislikon,
taivas harmaa. Sataa. Syksy on.

(from 'Syksy')

Lauri Pohjanpää was born Lauri Nordqvist in Helsinki, the son of Kaarle Henrik, a master tailor, and Iida Wilhelmina Kourlaa. The change of the family name from the Swedish origin into Finnish "Pohjanpää" was a result of  Johannes Linnankoski's national campaign. As a small businessman Pohjanpää's father never had a great success; originally he had planned to become a missionary.

His early years Pohjanpää spent in Helsinki, where his father had a tailor's shop in the middle of the city, at Aleksanterinkatu steet. When Pohjanpää was nine, the family moved to Tampere. Pohjanpää's friends at the secondary school included the future Nobel writer F.E. Sillanpää, who later dedicated to Pohjanpää one of his short stories, 'Rippi' (1928). 

While still at school, Pohjanpää began to write poems. He studied aesthetics and literature at the University of Helsinki, receiving his M.A. in 1911. Among his fellow students was Juhani Siljo (1888-1918) – they both debuted as poets in 1910: Pohjanpää published Mielialoja, and Siljo his collection Runoja. Mielialoja attracted the attention of the composer Oscar Merikanto, whose song 'Haudoilta" was based on Pohjanpää's poem. Siljo and Pohjanpää examined religious themes in their works, especially death, but for Siljo poetry meant serious self-examination – Pohjanpää's touch was lighter and his Christian world view is marked with optimism.

In autumn of 1912 Pohjanpää studied literature in Paris. He worked in the 1910s as a journalist, writing for Uusi Suometar (1913, 1915). From 1913 to 1915 he was the director of Hartola folk high school. During the Finnish Civil War (1917-18) he joined the White Guards.

Pohjanpää's observations of the nature combined with philosophical reflections marked the poetry collection Ristiritari (1920, The crusader), in which some of the lyrics come near hymns and prayers. In the title work a crusader sees Jerusalem after a long journey, but realizes that he has come only to the half-way. Pohjanpää had abandoned politics after the Civil War, but some poems arose from the spirit of the times: "Kaks kalpaa yllä on Karjalan. / Ne ei lepy – ne sotaa soittavat! / Sinä seisot Euroopan! / Vain kuolla voit tai voittaa! (from 'Laulu Karjalalle,' 1924)

From 1917 Pohjanpää worked as a teacher at a coeducational school in Helsinki (Helsingin Suomalainen Yhteiskoulu). In 1920 he married Arla Augusta Rossander, the daughter of a Lutheran minister. After theological studies, Pohjanpää was ordained as a minister in 1925 – it was what his brother had wanted to do before his death. Pohjanpää served subsequently in several ecclesiastical offices and was among others the secretary of the hymn book committee (1922-23) and committee's regular expert (1929-37). In 1935, his play Savonarola was staged at the Finnish National Theatre.

Both Pohjanpää's poems and religious essays dealt with issues that are universal and timeless, but poems have better survived the test of time. His most productive period was in the 1920s, when he published several collections of poems, including his best-known work Metsän satuja (1924). It combined elements form Finnish folk tales with themes from international fable tradition, familiar from the works of Aesop, Jean de La Fontaine and Krylov. In his animal fables Pohjanpää had often a moral or even didactic message – it is better to be poor than rich: "Tämä rikkaan osa, se on nolo ja polo / Oli parempi köyhänä olo!" In the poem 'Yksimielisyys on voimaa' Pohjanpää mocked Socialist rhetoric – the party conference of wolves wants to communalize laziness and ends in fight about the bear's honey.

One of Pohjanpää's most popular pieces, 'Syksy' (The Autumn), was set to music by the composer Heikki Sarmanto. The much anthologized poem, which depicts two old crows, has been highly popular in elementary schools and poetry readings for decades. The crows sit silently on a fence, the autumn rain is drizzling, the crows are wet, and when it is getting dark, the other wakes up, prepares for a flight, and his companion says: 'It was nice to meet and chat, welcome to a visit again.' The lyrics have also been translated into English by the American poet Aina Swan Cutler.

Pohjanpää was socially active and a member of several boards and councils, including the board of the Finnish Writers' Association. He traveled in Russia, Estonia, Sweden, Germany, Switzerland, and France. The family friends included Edwin Linkomies, Prime Minister of Finland during the Continuation war. Throughout his life, religion was for Pohjanpää not a matter of thought or action, but a feeling of God's presence. In the 1940s, he asked in a poem, what is something that last forever, and concluded that it is the message of the cross, and the mercy of God. 

Pohjanpää died on July 2, 1962 in Helsinki. Pohjanpää's selected poems, Kaipuu ylipse ajan, which came out in 1989, was edited by his daughter Helena Anhava. In her book of memoir, Toimita talosi (2006), she recalled that his father was always writing, but the door to his study was half open and he was fully present with his family at dinner time. Certain Russian classics, such as Tolstoy and Turgenev, he read over and over again.

Pohjanpää's brother, the lawyer Arvi Pohjanpää (1887-1957), also published fiction. Selected works: Tuntureilta (1913); Revontulten alla (1916); Valo (1918, play); Jumalan käskynhaltija (1937, play); Keisarin käräjillä (1943, play). Arvi Pohjanpää's daughter Elina (1933-1996) became a popular film actress. She was married to the actor Pentti Siimes. Helena Anhava was married to the poet, critic and translator Tuomas Anhava (1927-2001).

For further reading: 'Lauri Pohjanpää' by Unto Kupiainen, in Suomalainen lyriikka, pp. 45-50 (1948); Aleksis Kivestä Martti Merenmaahan: suomalaisten kirjailijain elämäkertoja, toim. Martti Haavio (1954); 'Pohjanpää, Lauri', in Suomen kansallisbiografia, ed. by Matti Klinge, et al. (2006); Toimita talosi by Helena Anhava (2006) - Other writers of animal fables: Jean de La Fontaine, Ivan Krylov

Selected works:

  • Lehtoset ja Mehtoset: 1-näytöksinen huvinäytelmä, 1910
  • Mielialoja, 1910
  • Uusi kevät ja muita runoja, 1917
  • Ainon ja Liisan kesätoimet, 1918 (illustrated by Gertrud Solitander-Borberg)
    - Ainos och Lisas sommarsysslor (teckningarna av Gertrud Solitander-Borberg ; övers. av M. Nyberg, 1918)
  • Erakko: legenda, 1919
  • Ristiritari: runoja, 1920
  • Iäisyyden edessä: vakavia sanoja, 1921
  • Jörö-Jukka eli iloisia juttuja ja hullunkurisia kuvia / Heinrich Hoffmann, 1922 (translator)
  • Kultaiset langat ja muita kertomuksia, 1923
  • Nouse, ole kirkas, 1923
  • Metsän satuja ja muita runoja, 1924
  • Syvemmälle: lyhyitä tutkiskeluja, 1925
  • Kantaatti Suomen merimieslähetysseuran 50-vuotisjuhlaan, 1925
  • Graalin malja: runoja, 1926
  • Sielukellot, 1926
  • Satu kolmesta pienestä porsaasta, 1926
  • Hengessä ja totuudessa, 1927
  • Väärään hautaan: hiljaisia kertomuksia, 1927
  • Oodi elämälle: runoja, 1928
  • Oppikoulun Raamatun historia, 1928
  • Satuaarre Suomen lapsille 1-6, 1928-32
  • Kantaatti Tampereen 50-vuotisjuhlaan sekakuorolle ja torviorkesterille, 1929 (composed by Leevi Madetoja)
  • Lähemmäs, Jumala, sua: puheita nuorisolle, 1930
  • Kiurun tupa: lausuttavia runoja, 1930
  • Väsyneet kädet: uskonnollisia runoja, 1930
  • Herran eteen: tutkisteluja nuorille ja vanhoille, 1931
  • Sininen hämärä: uusi sarja Metsän satuja ja muita runoja, 1933
  • Mooses Neebon vuorella: Raittiuden ystävien 50-vuotisjuhlaan, 1933
  • Ministerikoulu: yksinäytöksinen huvinäytelmä, 1935
  • Savonarola: nelinäytöksinen murhenäytelmä, 1935
  • Kouluveräjä: koulumiehen pakinoita ja päiväkirjan lehtiä, 1936
  • Kärsimys ja elämä, 1936
  • Kesäyön laulu: romaani, 1937
  • Onnellisen kodin edellytykset, 1937
  • Onnellinen koti: hiljaisuna hetkinä kodissa luettavaksi, 1937
  • Jumalan aseita: henkilökuvia, 1938
  • Heikki ja Peikko, 1938 (illustrated by R. Koivu)
  • Elämän laulu: kantaatti XXII kansainväliseen raittiuskongressiin Helsingissä 1939, 1939 (säveltänyt Armas Järnefelt)
    - Song of life: festal poem to the XXII. international congress against alkoholism in Helsinki in summer 1939, 1939 (composed by Armas Järnefelt)
  • Kouluveräjä 2: esseitä ja lastuja koulun ja kodin näköpiiristä, 1939
  • Mustarastas: runoja, 1941
  • Tähän asti on Herra meitä auttanut, 1941
  • Päivän kilvoitus: koettelemusten aikoina, 1942
  • Syntymäpäiväkirja, 1943 (editor)
  • Luther kotonaan, 1943
  • Valitut runot, 1943
  • Kirkonkellot: kertomuksia, 1943
  • Tietä etsimässä läpi pimeän ajan, 1944
  • Voitto ja muita kertomuksia, 1944
  • Elämän kuvastimessa: runouden maailman näköaloja, 1945
  • Hän rakastaa, 1945
  • Balladi kahdesta Kristuksen marttyyrista, jotka Löwenin sofistit polttivat Brysselissä v. 1523 / Martti Luther, 1946 (translator) 
  • Pyhien saatto kautta aikain: kirkon historiaa pikakuvina, 1946
  • Päivä menee pilveen: pienoisromaani, 1946
  • Jouluaatto: joulurunoja lapsille ja vanhemmille, 1946
  • Kottaraisen huilu: metsän satuja, 1947
  • Eteenpäin ja ylöspäin: kirja nuorisolle, 1948
  • Viides suomalainen virsikirja: syntyhistoria, 1948
  • Aamu ja ilta ja muita runoja, 1949
  • Muistojen saatto: kappaleita muistojen kirjasta, 1950
  • Mestari, 1952
  • Ylentäkää sydämet: lyhyitä hetkiä Raamatun ääressä kotona ja koulussa, 1952
  • Kirjoja ja ihmisiä, 1953
  • Pilgrimerna: finsk lyrik, 1954 (svensk tolkning av Elis Selin)
  • Jäähyväiset koululle, 1955
  • Meren kaupunki: runoja, 1954
  • Tie ja totuus ja elämä: kolmannen vuosikerran tekstien tutkisteluja, 1955
  • Jänis ja kilpikonna: runotarinoita lapsille, 1956 (illustrated by Pirkko Lähteenmäki)
  • Suurin kaikista on rakkaus: ensimmäisen vuosikerran tekstien tutkisteluja, 1956
  • Katso, Jumalan karitsa: toisen vuosikerran tekstien tutkistelija, 1957
  • Päivä ja yö, 1957
  • Valikoima runoja, 1958
  • Anna von Toll ja muita kertomuksia: Savonarola: nelinäytöksinen murhenäytelmä, 1959
  • Varjele sydämesi: kouluhartauspuheita, 1959
  • Eläviä sanoja: uskonnollisia ajatuksia, 1959
  • Kaksi sukupolvea, 1960
  • Yläs Jerusalemiin: Vanhan testamentin kuvia, 1961
  • Lastenrunoja, 1962
  • Hiljene, maa: uskonnollisia runoja, 1982 (selected by Helena Anhava)
  • Kaipuu ylitse ajan: valitut runot 1910-1954, 1989 (edited by Helena Anhava)


In Association with Amazon.com


Some rights reserved Petri Liukkonen (author) & Ari Pesonen. Kuusankosken kaupunginkirjasto 2008


Creative Commons License
Authors' Calendar jonka tekijä on Petri Liukkonen on lisensoitu Creative Commons Nimeä-Epäkaupallinen-Ei muutettuja teoksia 1.0 Suomi (Finland) lisenssillä.
May be used for non-commercial purposes. The author must be mentioned. The text may not be altered in any way (e.g. by translation). Click on the logo above for information.