Paavo Haavikko (25.1.1931 - 6.10.2008)
Poet, author, and publisher and member of Finnish Academy
Paavo Haavikko (1931-2008)
Poet, author, and publisher Paavo Haavikko died in hospital on Wednesday at the age of 77, after a long illness.
Haavikko, a member of the Finnish Academy since 1994, was particularly known as a poet, and his work has been translated into 12 languages.
He was also responsible for plays for the stage, radio and television, and the librettos to three operas by Aulis Sallinen, and he wrote the screenplay for the Finnish Broadcasting Company’s loose TV-adaptation of the national epic Kalevala, entitled The Age of Iron (1982).
In 1984 Haavikko was the winner of the prestigious Neustadt Prize for Literature, and he received numerous other domestic and Nordic accolades.
Most recently, just one day before his death, the Finnish Literature Society awarded Haavikko its annual prize.
Aside from his own writing, Paavo Haavikko was literary director of the Otava publishing house from 1967 to 1983, and since 1989 had run his own small publishing firm Art House, first as CEO and from 2001 as Chairman.
Haavikko was a hugely respected albeit contentious figure, with a penchant for stirring debate on topical issues.
He was occasionally cast as the nation’s oracular pessimistic voice, a label he acquired through steadfast opposition to such things as the building of the new National Opera House, the decline of public libraries, the election of Martti Ahtisaari as President in 1994, the press hegemony enjoyed by Helsingin Sanomat, and the actions of the police during the Mikkeli hostage drama of 1986. Haavikko was also an outspoken opponent of Finnish NATO membership.
His literary output runs to around 70 works, and he made his breakthrough in 1951 with his début collection of verse, entitled Tiet etäisyyksiin.
A number of his works have been translated into English, including Selected Poems, published in 1974 in the Penguin Modern Poets series.
Paavo Haavikko (Books & Writers)
Paavo Haavikko (Virtual Finland)