New poem: “Witch’s Lens” in Polu Texni

My poem “Witch’s Lens” is out in Polu Texni!

Read it here: “My witchery awakens / with the rising season.”

I wrote this poem in April 2014, and edited it around a year later based on feedback from my writing group. (Yes, sometimes my poetry progresses veeery slowly, with edits happening ages after the first draft was written in a frenzy.) Another poem that improved significantly with the help of suggestions from my lovely group. <3

Sadly, unlike in the poem, Finland is still in winter's grip – we've got sun at last (sun! sun! sun!) but it's still close to zero and there's frost at night. I hope true spring comes soon and all things begin to grow. To paraphrase my poem: I want my witchery to awaken, my winter-faded soul to strengthen. I've been winter-tired and mired in a thousand busy things, but perhaps with the turning year I too can turn, awake and begin to live again.

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Poetry in Polu Texni: Beauty Remembers

Excellent news for this June Monday: my poem ‘Beauty Remembers’ is now online at Polu Texni.

Read it here!

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Since the poem was inspired by the tale of Beauty and the Beast, I think this is the time to wax lyrical about how much that fairy tale has inspired and continues to inspire me.

I was first exposed to the fairy tale through the Disney movie. I was five years old when it came out, and it was the first film I ever went to see at a cinema. I remember me and my friend had to sit perched high on the seats to be able to see the screen. We were mesmerised.

It was a magical – and, I think, formative – experience. The Disney version of Beauty and the Beast has stayed with me all these years. I’m not ashamed to admit that I still love it. As a geeky brown-haired bookworm, I identified with Belle from the start. It was fabulous to have an animated character who also liked to read and who dreamt of adventures in the great wide somewhere. I still get shivers in the scene where Belle explores the forbidden west wing of the castle – the music, the animation, ah, such magic!

Later, I found the original fairy tale and loved it too. I was also drawn to other tales of animal transformation and love – The Black Bull of Norroway is a fantastic example, with its powerful female hero climbing the glass mountain to get to her love. And I’m a total sucker for retellings or adaptations of Beauty and the Beast or similar tales. Even if I think the adaptations/retellings are horrible, I’ll enjoy some part of them because hey, it’s Beauty and the Beast!

Naturally, the theme crops up in my own writing, too. Most notably, recently, in the novel I started during Nano 2008 and finished the first draft of last autumn. (The novel that I should edit properly sometime…) Anyway, it’s inspired by Beauty and the Beast, and is set in a strange city and a realm within that city.

While I was revising that novel last August, I was so caught up in the beauty/beast theme that this poem popped out, too. I’m really happy that ‘Beauty Remembers’ is available online now for all to read.

New poetry in Curio and forthcoming in Polu Texni!

Now for the nice stuff I mentioned yesterday! Publications!

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Two of my poems are now online in issue 11 of Curio, “a journal of poetry that explores the world at a micro-level: tiny spaces, instants, individual objects, scraps of dreams and memories, et cetera”.

‘Silver and Gold’ and ‘Man Playing Piazzolla’ can both be found here.

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Both were written last year. The first draft of ‘Silver and Gold’ happened in early February. I was still working as a research assistant for the Varieng research unit at the University of Helsinki at that point, on the top floor of the Metsätalo building. Lovely views of rooftop Helsinki: the office room I worked in had a view of Helsinki Cathedral. Anyway, one evening in February I was at work late – well, no longer doing research assistant stuff, but working on my MA thesis after my paid job, as was my way. (Those were good times. Yes, seriously! Getting to write my MA thesis at an actual office at uni instead of home or in the library – brilliant.)

Anyway, early evening, I shuffled into the corridor for a break and chanced to see an enchanting view from the big glass wall: thus, a poem. It’s one of the approximately three poems I wrote during the three months I was both working and intensively writing my thesis. So I’m even more pleased that it has found a home!

‘Man Playing Piazzolla’ was written in September last year when I challenged myself with a “week of poetry” as I occasionally do. I was unemployed, wandering the city with my friend, and came across one of the most enchanting street musicians I’ve seen in Helsinki. I’ve seen him since, but that time in September was the first. Magic indeed. He was straight out of an urban fantasy story, and I may yet use him as character inspiration!

There you go. Long rambles about my poems. :) Hope you enjoy them!

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And another poetry sale: my poem ‘Beauty Remembers’ is forthcoming in Polu Texni! Yay!