Tuesday, 10 March 2009


In 2006, an interesting poetry anthology involving people living in Yorkshire, UK, and Ostrobothnia, Finland, was published. The title was Interland, rather appropriate, given Yorkshire people's propensity for dropping their aitches.

This 160-page anthology was supported financially by The Arts Council of England, Österbottens Konstkommission, and Kirklees Culture and Leisure Services. (Kirklees is the borough that includes Dewsbury, Batley, and a few other smaller West Riding towns.) It was published by Smith / Doorstop Books in Huddersfield.

The six poets featured are Steve Dearden, Kath McKay, Adam Strickson (Yorkshire) and Ralf Andtbacka, Carita Nyström and Marko Hautala (Ostrobothnia, aka Österbotten and Pohjanmaa). The aim was that the poets from the two regions of the two countries would spark ideas off one another.

The Finnish- and Swedish-language poems are translated on the opposite page into English, and the English poems into Swedish or Finnish. The poems are modernist in tone, mostly unrhymed.

The blurb adds: "Images of water permeate the writing. The book explores deep emotions: grief, estrangement, longing. Themes and quotations from the Kalevala, the Finnish national epic, are threaded throughout.

This is a true example of Nordic-British literary cooperation.

The full title of the anthology reads:

Interland - Six Steps Underwater; Interland - Kuusi askelta veden alla; Interland - Sex steg under vatten


David McDuff said...

Yes, I remember meeting Carita Nyström in Helsinki a few years ago when I got the Finland-Swedish Authors' Association award, and she told me about this anthology. It certainly does look interesting, and as you say, it's a real example of inter-cultural co-operation.

Eric Dickens said...

It has a special resonance for me, because I was born in Dewsbury, lived in Batley as a child, but also in Vasa and Jakobstad in the late 1970s. So I was most intrigued to see this anthology. I think I met Carita Nyström at Breidablick, Vörå, when there was a Skrivarseminarium there. I met several Ostrobothnian authors at that same event.

There should definitely be more intercultural activities of this sort, inter-regional ones too, as opposed to only between nations.