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Haiku in Finland

Finland boasts a long literary tradition, beginning with late-Bronze-Age oral poetry. The first mention of Japanese poetry forms in Finnish literature occurred in 1904, and the first anthology of Japanese poetry in translation appeared in Swedish—Finland’s second language—in 1925, followed in 1930 by an anthology in Finnish. About the same time, the influence of modernist and imagist poets began to be felt, and for decades to follow, prominent Finnish poets explored and experimented with Japanese short-form poetry in both classical formats and as free-form poetry. With the advent of the Internet and desktop publishing, the number of poets writing haiku burgeoned. A haiku club was formed in 2000, and a first haiku magazine appeared in 2013.

This article covers haiku written by poets living or working in Finland, by Finns abroad, or by poets working in one of the languages of Finland, i.e., Finnish and Swedish (the two official languages), Romani, Karelian, and variants of Sami.

Roots of Finnish poetry: The Kalevala

The oldest oral poetry from what is now Finland appears to date back to the Proto-Finnic period, during the late Bronze Age (c. 1000–500 BCE).1 The earliest documented pieces of poetry, however, are from 1544 (Rucouskiria, a prayer book by Mikael Agricola). Their meter is a form of trochaic tetrameter that is known today as the Kalevala meter. It derives its name from The Kalevala, a nineteenth-century work of epic poetry compiled by Elias Lönnrot from Finnish and Karelian oral folklore and mythology. The primary poetic devices used in Kalevala poetry are alliteration and parallelism (i.e., repeating the idea presented in the previous line, often by using synonyms).

The publication of the first version of The Kalevala in 1835 coincided with a wave of romantic nationalism sweeping across Europe. Finland, having become part of the Russian Empire in 1809, was no exception among European countries in seeking national consciousness and expression. For Finnish poets, composers, and painters, the true spirit of the nation was embodied in remote, pristine places of natural beauty and rural charm: Ingria, Lapland and, most importantly, Karelia. It was from there that Lönnrot, too, got his inspiration as well as most of the verses for his epic.

Lönnrot’s aim in compiling The Kalevala was to create for Finnish posterity a “poetical museum of ancient Finno-Karelian peasant life, with its farmers, huntsmen and fishermen.”2 Hence, the epic is steeped in romanticized descriptions of the everyday life of commoners, dependence on natural phenomena, and the protagonists’ sense of union with and reverence for nature. The landscapes of The Kalevala are never portrayed simply as backgrounds for human activity but as active agents themselves. In the epic’s story world, all nature is animate: flora, fauna, and entities that are usually considered to be non-living (e.g., a road, a boat, the sun and the moon) are endowed with the gift of speech, offer their help and advice, and can even feel compassion for human beings.3

The influence of The Kalevala, now regarded as the national epic of Finland and Karelia, is still visible in Finnish writers’ nature-oriented poetics. Although stylistically quite different, Kalevala poetry shares with modern nature poetry and environmental poetry an interest in commonplace subjects, colloquial language and, of course, concord with nature. This, along with the alliteration, makes Kalevala poetry strangely similar even to haiku. As if discussing Finnish folk poems, Kenneth Yasuda states: “Alliteration […] occupies in haiku a special position, emphasizing its structure in a way peculiar to itself. For alliteration speaks gently where rhyme commands.”4

Early contacts with Japanese poetry

1900 to 1930

The first mention of Japanese poetry forms in Finnish literature was in a general work on Japanese society and culture titled Japani nyt ja ennen: uusimpien Japanin-tutkijain esitysten mukaan toimitettu (Japan Now and Before: Edited According to Japanologists’ Newest Studies). It was edited by Vihtori Peltonen and published in 1904—one year before the French poet Paul-Louis Couchoud published Au fil de l’eau, the first haiku collection written in a European language.

After the publication of Japani nyt ja ennen, over twenty years passed before Holger Schildt’s publishing house published Finland’s first translated anthology of Japanese poetry: Ernst von Wendt’s Swedish-language Kärlek och vår i Japan: japanska dikter i svensk omklädnad (1925; Love and Spring in Japan: Japanese Poems in Swedish Translation). In the preface to the book, von Wendt provides an in-depth discussion of Japanese poetry and the difficulties associated with translating it into European languages. He himself translated from the German.

The early 1920s saw the birth of a literary group called Tulenkantajat (The Flame Bearers), which promoted a turn towards Europe. In practice, the group was more international than that, with many of its members (including Katri Vala and Uuno Kailas) being interested in orientalism and poetic imaginings of the East.

Another significant literary movement of the period beginning in the 1910s was Finland-Swedish modernism. Led by Edith Södergran, the group was influenced, among others, by English imagism, and favored free verse, precision of image, expansion of the subject matter of poetry, everyday motifs and colloquial language.

1940 to 1960

The first original texts from Finnish soil that were influenced by Japanese poetry appeared in Ain’Elisabet Pennanen’s 1943 Finnish-language poetry collection Huomensynty (Birth of the Morrow), which contained tanka among other forms. Her son Jarno Pennanen published two poetry collections containing mainly tanka: Elokuun päivä (1944; August Day) and Tomun kimallus (1945; The Glint of Dust).

During the 1950s, there emerged a movement called Finnish modernism, set up by poets such as Paavo Haavikko, Eeva-Liisa Manner, Bo Carpelan, and the imagist Tuomas Anhava, who adapted their tone and poetics from Anglo-American modernists—T. S. Eliot and Ezra Pound were major influences and often translated—but also from ancient and medieval Japanese poets.5 For example, Anhava presented Pound’s book ABC of Reading in his 1952 article “Mitä lukijan tulee tietää?” (What Does the Reader Need to Know?), published in the respected Finnish-language literary magazine Parnasso. Anhava also translated three collections of classical tanka (1960–1975).

In the 1950s, two major works of Japanese poetry appeared in Finnish translation. The diplomat and linguist G. J. Ramstedt’s collection Japanilaisia runoja (Japanese Poems) was published posthumously in 1953. It mostly contained haiku by 17th-century poets (e.g., Saikaku, Sodō, Bashō, Ransetsu, and Masahide). Ramstedt’s earliest translations dated back to the 1930s, making him perhaps the first serious translator of Japanese tanka and haiku into Finnish.

Ramstedt’s Japanese poems were predated by a few years by the appearance of Marta Keravuori’s Kirsikankukkia: Japanin klassillisten runojen suomennoksia (1951; Cherry Blossoms: Translations of Classical Japanese Poems). Its third edition (1967) also contained Keravuori’s own tanka that she sent for selection to the annual Utakai hajime (First Poetry Reading) held on New Year’s Day at the Imperial Palace in Tokyo. Her earliest competition tanka dated from 1956—one year before American poet Lucille M. Nixon became the first non-Japanese selected to participate in the imperial poetry reading.

Both Ramstedt’s and Keravuori’s translations were made directly from Japanese and usually accorded with the original texts metrically as well as semantically. Their tone was almost always excessively pathetic, however, and they used devices that were uncommon in traditional Japanese poetry, such as rhyme and inversion of phrase. Moreover, Ramstedt’s and Keravuori’s translations shared a tendency for archaic and overly poetic language that lacked correspondence in the source text but allowed for a 5–7–5 (haiku) or 5–7–5–7–7 (tanka) structure in the target text.

Mikko Kilpi, the husband of the better-known poet Eeva Kilpi, published original poems with definite notes of haiku in Luopumisen aikaan (1958; In the Time of Renunciation).

1960 to 1980

Tuomas Anhava’s first translated collection of Japanese waka, Kuuntelen, vieras: valikoima klassillisia japanilaisia tanka-runoja (I, as a Stranger: A Selection of Classical Japanese Tanka Poems), was published in 1960. Anhava, unlike Ramstedt or Keravuori, did not know Japanese, and based his translations on English, French, German, and Swedish editions. Despite this, he was familiar with Japanese poetry and poetics through the writings of Pound, so he captured the spirit of the original poems. Kuuntelen, vieras—a reference to Munetake’s wakakaku kite wa”—became a bestseller and was followed by two other widely read waka anthologies: Oikukas tuuli (1970; Whimsical Wind) and Täällä kaukana (1975; Here, Far Away). Anhava’s translations of Japanese classics were “perhaps the most significant poetry translations in postwar Finland. They have become part of Finnish literature …”6 and influenced significant poets such as Eila Kivikk’aho, whose critically acclaimed Ruusukvartsi (Rose Quartz), a collection of tanka and haiku, was published in 1995.

Another translator of Japanese poetry, less influential perhaps, was Maunu Niinistö, whose Maailmankirjallisuuden mestarilyriikkaa (1967; Masterful World Poetry) included an entire section dedicated to the “haiku poems” (haiku-runoja) of Matsuo Bašo (sic).

As a result of Anhava’s translated works, Japanese poetry was now more popular than ever in Finland, but it also became almost synonymous with waka (or tanka). However, perhaps due to increased interest in a more rugged and colloquial style of poetry as well as R. H. Blyth’s four-volume Haiku (1949–1952) and two-volume History of Haiku (1964), Kenneth Yasuda’s The Japanese Haiku (1957), and Anhava’s modernist writings, the first serious original haiku by a Finnish poet appeared. These were Anselm Hollo’s English-language haiku that appeared as a series titled “17 x 17” in Haiku: A Strange Life (1968). The book, published by London-based Trigram Press, featured haiku by John Esam, Tom Raworth, and Hollo. According to Hollo, “none [of the haiku are] too ‘purist’; quite a few wd probably be classified only as a sort of surrealist ‘senryu.’”7

night train whistles, stars
over a nation under
mad temporal czars
                                                                Anselm Hollo,
                                                                in Haiku: A Strange Life (1968)   

Two works that followed were Veikko Polameri’s second poetry collection veden ääni (1968; the sound of water—a Bashō tribute through and through) and Kai Nieminen’s debut collection Joki vie ajatukseni (1971; The River Takes My Thoughts Away). Both Polameri and Nieminen were influenced by Anglo-American haiku poetics: Blyth’s concept of Zen haiku, Yasuda’s haiku moment, Jack Kerouac’s pops, and Allen Ginsberg’s American sentences. Polameri’s work also shows clear traces of influence from James W. Hackett’s haiku, as seen from the example below:

Bitter morning
     sparrows sitting
            without necks.8 

Kolea aamu:
      huuruisella oksalla
            päätön varpunen.

Bleak morning:
      on a frosty branch
             a headless sparrow.

 Veikko Polameri, in veden ääni

Nieminen and Polameri also figured importantly as translators of Japanese literature. Nieminen translated Santōka’s haiku and Bashō’s haikai no renga, hokku, and haibun (including all his travel diaries), while Polameri included translations of some of Issa’s hokku in his collections. It was these Issa translations that had a profound impact on nature poet Risto Rasa’s writing,10 which, similar to Issa’s haiku, often portrayed small creatures in a bighearted way. Rasa, who made his debut in 1971 with the poetry collection Metsän seinä on vain vihreä ovi (The Forest Wall Is but a Green Door), never defined his own poetry as haiku, although many of his poems consisted of seventeen syllables in three lines.

Koivun oksalla
    korvan muotoinen pahka
        kuin se kuuntelis

On the birch branch
     a burl, ear-shaped
          as if it was listenin’

Risto Rasa, in Metsän seinä on vain
vihreä ovi (1971)

Besides Rasa, many other Finnish poets who debuted in the 1970s wrote short, nature-based poetry. These include Helena Anhava (Tuomas Anhava’s wife) and the Finland-Swedish poet Tomas Mikael Bäck, who has written free-form, usually two- to four-line haiku in Swedish since his first collection Andhämtning (1972; Drawing Breath). As his sources of inspiration Bäck has named, among others, the Swede Jan Vintilescu’s Haiku: japansk miniatyrlyrik (1959; Haiku: Japanese Miniature Lyrics), R. H. Blyth’s writings on poetry and the “satori experience,” and Bashō, whom Bäck admitted to having copied in his Andhämtning.11

One of the more established poets to experiment in haiku was Finland’s mother of modernism, Eeva-Liisa Manner, whose Paetkaa purret kevein purjein (1971; Flee, Boats, with Light Sails) contained a few haiku-esque poems.

The turn towards nature poetry in the 1970s can be seen as a reaction against Finland’s urbanization, which began in the 1960s and was particularly rapid in the decade to come.12

1980 to 2000

Judging by the number of publications, Finnish interest in haiku seemed to wane in the 1980s—only to increase again in the 1990s.13 Two notable poets who became interested in haiku in the 1980s were Arto Kytöhonka and Juhani Tikkanen. Interestingly, both poets dealt with the latest technology in their Japan-inspired poetry. Tikkanen’s Dolby C (1987) contained haiku that fused the traditional and the modern, the human and the nonhuman, the built and the natural. Kytöhonka, a pioneer in computer science, published two computer-based nagauta collections: SATUNAIS.RUN: Maailman ensimmäinen tietokoneen kalvolevylle kirjoitettu & WEAK A.I.-pohjainen runokokoelma (1983; The World’s First Weak AI-based Poetry Collection Written on a Floppy Disk) and SATUNAI2.RUN (1984). He also taught writing at the Orivesi Folk High School and used haiku rules as guidelines for all kinds of writing.14

Parta pitäisi ajaa.
        Hivelisi poskia

I should shave my beard
    then feel it caress my cheeks:
                          the summer wind.

Juhani Tikkanen, in Dolby C (1987)

In the Swedish-speaking world, Erik Andersson, later a professor of Swedish at Åbo University, published his haiku collection Orden är ögon: haiku-dikter (1983; The Words Are Eyes: Haiku Poems). Original Japanese haiku continued to be translated into Finnish as well. Lumikurki: Japanilaisia tanka- ja haikurunoja (1983; Snow Crane: Japanese Tanka and Haiku Poems), edited and translated by Kari Juhani Portin, included poems by the Japanese greats and Portin himself.

In the 1990s, many new haiku-inspired poets emerged, including Risto Köykkä, whose influences included Japanese haiku poets and his namesake Risto Rasa.15 Köykkä’s debut collection Pehmeä peili (Soft Mirror) was published in 1991. It was followed by Tai minä joka olen autuus (1996; Or I Who Am Bliss) and Perhosetkin ovat vielä hengissä (1998; The Butterflies, Too, Are Still Alive), which was shortlisted for the 1999 Runeberg Prize and remains Köykkä’s last collection. All of his books were published by Otava, Finland’s biggest publishing house, and were edited by Martti Anhava, the son of Tuomas and Helena Anhava.16 Köykkä’s free-form haiku dealt with subjects such as love, nature, spiritual liberation, and death.

Otava has also been the publisher of poet Caj Westerberg since his debut in 1967. Westerberg, an award-winning translator of Tomas Tranströmer, started experimenting with haiku in the 1980s. His free-form haiku were included in collections such as Että näkyisi valona vedessä (1991; To Be Seen as Light in the Water) and Läikehtien rientävät pilvinä kivet (1992; Glimmering, the Rocks Rush by as Clouds).

harmaassa illassa
sateen valkea ääni

in the gray evening
the rain’s white sound

Caj Westerberg, in Ataraksia (2003)

Finland’s second largest book publisher, WSOY, also showed interest in Japanese poetry forms in the 1990s, publishing Eila Kivikk’aho’s above-mentioned Ruusukvartsi, a collection of tanka and haiku that more often than not adhered to the traditional 5–7–5(–7–7) syllable structures as well as the use of season words (kigo), cutting words (kireji), and objective sensory imagery.

Ilman verbejä:
kirkas taivas, ja pilvet,
ja kaksi tiiraa.

Without verbs:
the bright sky, and the clouds,
and two terns.

Eila Kivikk’aho, in Ruusukvartsi

While it is fair to say that haiku was popularized in Finland in the 1990s by renowned poets and publishers, it has yet to become mainstream. In fact, Finnish haiku has always flourished in the margins: most books and chapbooks are either published by small publishing companies or, more and more frequently since the beginning of the 2000s, self-published. An example of a small publishing house that published haiku in the 1990s was Sirius, founded by poet Tapio Palmroth, himself a keen haikuist. The list of titles from Sirius included Palmroth’s Haiku- ja tankarunoja (1994; Haiku and Tanka Poems) and Janne Pullinen’s Jospa tietäisit (1997; If Only You Knew), a collection of haiku. Annikki Lievonen’s The Blue of Longing: Haiku Poems (1993) is an example of a self-publication and was perhaps the first English-language book of haiku written by a Finn.

In 1999 another small book publishing company called Orienta, established by Juhani Lompolo, a long-time resident of Japan, published Shiki: japanilaisia haiku-runoja neljälle vuodenajalle (Shiki: Japanese Haiku Poems for the Four Seasons). The translations were by a working group of Japani-Kilta—the Japan Guild in Helsinki, a Finnish–Japanese friendship society currently known as Japania ry—that was led by Heikki Mallat, a founding member. Shiki, containing calligraphy by Hiroko Kimura, was chosen the Most Beautiful Book of 1999 by the Finnish Book Art Committee.

2000 to early 2010

In spring 2000, Japani-Kilta (now renamed Japania ry) inaugurated a haiku club that came to be known as HaikuJapania.17 The club is still active and gathers once a month in Helsinki’s Kallio Library or Rikhardinkatu Library. It is open to all who are interested in writing and sharing their haiku. The club also publishes an annual booklet of haiku by member haikuists. The club’s original president was Jari Sutinen; currently, it is chaired by Wili Leikola, another long-time member. Other active and established members include Raija Vihavainen, Irene Merilahti, and Riitta Rossilahti, the latter two having had considerable success in international haiku contests. Moreover, Rossilahti self-published three collections of haiku and tanka in Finnish with her own translations into English: Kivi virrassa: haikuja ja tankoja / A Stone in a River: Haiku and Tanka Poems (2005), Vihreä Viittani: haikuja ja tankoja / My Green Cape: Haiku and Tanka Poems (2009), and Kuunsillalla / On the Moon Bridge (2013).

Veden välkkeessä
telkänpojat kelluvat
kevyesti pois.

In the water’s shimmer
the goldeneye chicks float
lightly away.

Raija Vihavainen, in “HaikuJapania-
klubilaisten runoja” (2013)
Hylätty talo,
hoitamaton puutarha.
Syysleimu kukkii.

An abandoned house,
an unkempt garden.
Fall phlox blooms.

Wili Leikola, in Vihavainen (2013)
Syyskuun alku: 
kolme varista kulkee 

September dawns:
three crows walking
on the swimming beach.

Jari Sutinen, in Vihavainen (2013)
Montako virstaa
vielä vanhana oppii
nojaamaan tuuleen

How many miles left
old and frail I’ve learned
to lean on the wind

Riitta Rossilahti, in Bruce Ross et al., eds., A Vast Sky (2015); her translation

Printing costs began to decrease in the 2000s, the price of making books became cheaper, and suddenly everyone could become a published author. What followed was a boom in self-published works, especially poetry. The number of haiku titles doubled since the 1990s18 and dozens of new haikuists emerged, among them self-publishers such as Timo Pekka Asikainen, Oiva Björkbacka, Maire Hakala, Erkki Halvari, Esa Helander, Eeva Holma, Viktor Kärki, Ritva Laine, Kimmo K. Mustakallio, Väinö Mäkelä, Sofia Sundberg, Birgitta Tikkanen, Ari Valpas, Eeva-Liisa Vuonnala, and Riitta Welroos. Many of them had never published anything before (a fact that is often clear to the reader), and it was the apparent simplicity of haiku and tanka that pulled them into writing. Furthermore, an astonishing number of these self-publications included a foreword or afterword in which haiku was lauded for its strict rules that foster a calmness of mind. As Salmi has noted, haiku writing can be a therapeutic undertaking, and it certainly has been put to that use in Finland.19

As the price of making books decreased, there was an upsurge in small- and medium-scale publishers such as the hybrid Pilot (2000–2008) and the on-demand Ntamo (established in 2007). Whereas the quality of Pilot’s works varied considerably, with haiku titles like Janne Pullinen’s Vain unissamme (2006; Only in Our Dreams), Anneli Jantunen’s Neljä vuodenaikaa (2007; Four Seasons), and Marinka Ruusuvaara’s Enkelipukuja: runoja ja haikuja (2007; Angel Dresses: Poems and Haiku), Ntamo became one of the most vibrant publishers of poetry. It was home to poets who dared to reinvent themselves and their genres, poets such as the Tampere-based Rea Lehtonen, whose elegant collections of haiku and senryu—Harmaan satama (2008; The Port of Gray) and Samaa pimeää (2012; The Same Dark)—both drew on and departed from tradition.

Hyttysten tanssi

The mosquitoes’ dance
the air

Rea Lehtonen, in “Haiku & senryuu” 

Another Tampere success story was Arto Lappi, a prolific poet and a five-time winner of the Tampere City Creative Writing Prize. Lappi has published nine heavily Japan-inspired poetry collections beginning with his 2001 debut work Ei perhonen siivistään tiedä (The Butterfly Does Not Know of Its Wings), a tanka collection that gained first prize in the Runo-Kaarina poetry competition. Since his second collection, Kukko puussa: mitallisia runoja (2002; The Rooster in the Tree: Poems in Meter), Lappi has also published haiku, which have assumed a central place in his writing. Lappi, perhaps Finland’s most-read haikuist, writes with a sense of awe, gratitude, belonging, and subtle humor. His subjects have ranged from childlike love to Zen-like detachment; from hiking in Lapland to strolling the streets of his hometown, Tampere; from the Milky Way and majestic whales to petty human concerns and biological imperatives. Lappi is also a translator who has put into Finnish, among other works, Jack Kerouac’s Book of Haikus (Haikujen kirja, 2003) and Finland-based Nepalese haiku poet Janak Sapkota’s A Firefly Lights the Page (Tulikärpänen valaisee sivun, 2012).

Ojennan lasin 
sateella kaiteen yli— 
raikasta vettä. 

I hold out my glass
over the railing when it rains—
fresh water.

Arto Lappi, in Kukko puussa (2002)

Despite the emergence of original women haikuists such as Lehtonen and Maija-Liisa Nyman, whose Vieraskirja (2006; Guest Book) was the second haiku collection to win the Runo-Kaarina poetry competition, haiku in Finland has been a predominantly male domain. Some of the more established poets to experiment with haiku in the 2000s were Kari Aronpuro, Hannu Kankaanpää, Pekka Kejonen, Juhani Kellosalo, Ilpo Tiihonen, and Kari Saviniemi—all of them middle-aged men at the time. Figures less known to the general reader but popular on the Finnish haiku scene were three male poets involved with the Orienta publishing house and the Japania ry friendship society: Juhani Lompolo, Jari Sutinen, and Wili Leikola.

Firenzen varpuset 
tirskuvat – 
zir zir zir 

Florentine swallows
chirrup chirrup

Kari Aronpuro, in Lehmän henkäys 

In the 2000s, Lompolo, Sutinen, and Leikola published works that may have been aesthetically rather uninteresting, but which had a high impact on the spread and understanding of haiku in Finland. Haiku-runoja joka tunnelmaan: antologia (2000; Haiku Poems for Every Mood: An Anthology), published by the Lompolo-led Orienta, featured haiku by Masaoka Shiki and members of HaikuJapania. The anthology sent a clear message to its readers that haiku deal with all aspects of life, even baseball (Shiki’s favorite sport). This may have influenced Markus Leikola’s choice of form and meter in Pallomaapallo: haikuja jalkapallon MM-kisoista (2014; Ball Globe: Haiku on the Soccer World Cup). While this was fundamentally a message that at the same time celebrated haiku tradition and opened new vistas of poetic possibilities, it seems sometimes to have had the unfortunate effect of making Finnish writers and readers think of haiku as anything tied to seventeen syllables.

Another Orienta publication, by Lompolo and HaikuJapania’s president Wili Leikola, was the 2003 Haikuja huumorilla (Haiku with Humor), which may be one of the main reasons for why Finnish haiku from the 2000s so often reads more as senryu than as haiku. Juhani Lompolo’s Viisautta vuodeksi: haiku joka päivälle (2008; Wisdom for the Whole Year: One Haiku for Every Day), on the other hand, may have tilted Finnish “people’s haiku” away from true haiku and more towards aphorism, as seen from self-published haiku titles such as Eeva Kontiokari’s Sateen jälkeen: mieterunoja (2010; After the Rain: Aphoristic Poems), Ari-Pekka Pirskanen’s Murrerunoja metsästä: haiku- ja tankarunoja sekä mietelauseita (2014; Dialect Poems from the Forest: Haiku and Tanka Poems, and Aphorisms), and Ossi Lappalainen’s Vain tänne yltää maailma: haikuja & mietteitä (2015; The World Reaches Only Up Till Here: Haiku & Aphorisms).

Slightly balancing the sex ratio and the language ratio of Finnish 2000s haikuists was the Finland-Swedish poet Birgitta Maria Storgårds, whose 2004 collection Skörda höstlöv: dikter i haikuns och tankans form (Harvesting Fall Leaves: Poems in Haiku and Tanka Form) was published by the Swedish publishing company Ord & Visor.

Late 2010 to 2020

The haiku scene in Finland kept growing through the 2010s with more annual publications, more experimenting, and more languages. The year 2014 marked the release of what was in many ways an unprecedented book: Inger-Mari Aikio’s and Miro Mantere’s Beaivváš čuohká gaba: diktamusihkkaduodji / Aurinko juo kermaa: runomusiikkiteos (The Sun Drinks Cream: A Musical Poetry Piece). This collection, published by the Norwegian publishing house DAT, contained haiku- and tanka-inspired poetry in Northern Sami and Finnish. Actually, the poems were neither haiku nor tanka but “taiku,” a term coined by Aikio and Mantere for poems of 19 syllables in a 5–7–7 syllable pattern.20 The book was accompanied by a CD with all poems read in both languages by Aikio and some sung in Finnish by Mantere.

In 2019, Finland’s Karelian-speaking readership was presented with Lauri Luukkonen’s third poetry collection, Gul’aičen kylän juamal (I Stroll Down the Village Street). The collection contained mostly haiku (but also sixteen tanka) and was the first of its sort in Karelian.

The 2010s also saw a rise in the number of foreign haiku poets living and writing in Finland. These include Vladimir Ishenko (Russia), Hamish “Managua” Gunn (United Kingdom), and Gérard Krebs (Switzerland). Krebs, the most well-known of the three, has lived in Finland since 1974 and discovered haiku five years later while traveling in Japan. He has written and published haiku since 2008, including in three books: the German Natur und Haiku, Haiku und Natur: 35 Haiku und ein Essay der Natur gewidmet (2015; Nature and Haiku, Haiku and Nature: 35 Haiku and an Essay Dedicated to Nature); the bilingual Der Duft von Heu / Profumo di fieno (2017; The Scent of Hay), a collection that contains Krebs’ haiku in German with Italian translations (assisted by Erika Rombolotto); and the English-only The Soundless Dance (2017).

lark songs climbing
up and down 

                         Gérard Krebs, cited in “Haijin Gérard Krebs” (2013)

The Swedish-speaking haiku world was enriched by Robin Valtiala’s 2013 collection Barnvagn i överhastighet: haikudikter (2013; The Overspeed Stroller: Haiku Poems). Valtiala’s haiku were free-form and humorous and bordered on the nonsensical, making them a rare exception among Finland’s somewhat realistic body of haiku.

Other experimenters of the 2010s include Kristiina Stråhlman, Pirkko Lastikka, Hannu Oittinen, and Heikki Lahnaoja. Stråhlman’s quadrilingual (Finnish, Estonian, Swedish, and English) 2 S: Haiku ja kuva / Haiku ja pilt / Haiku och foto / Haiku and photo (2010) was a book of photo haiga, photographs accompanied by a haiku. Lastikka’s Etäisten teiden haibun (2017; A Haibun of Remote Roads) was a work of haibun (a prosimetric form combining prose and haiku) inspired by Bashō’s travel diaries.

Oittinen, a translator and poet, produced two books on “Estonian haiku” (eesti haiku in Estonian; vironhaiku in Finnish), a poetry form comprising of three lines and fourteen syllables in a 4–6–4 pattern. His works included Aika sattuu: vironhaikuja (2011; Time Hurts: Estonian Haiku), a translation from the Estonian of Asko Künnap (who invented eesti haiku about 2009), Jürgen Rooste, and Karl Martin Sinijärv; and Assamallan asemalla: vironhaikuja (2012; At Assamalla Station: Estonian Haiku), which contained original Estonian haiku by Oittinen himself as well as translations of 4–6–4–syllable poems by Künnap, Mari-Liis Roos, Jürgen Rooste, and Karl Martin Sinijärv.

Ntamo has continued publishing avant-garde haiku. One example was Heikki Lahnaoja’s Puitten uni: Hai(na)ku-runoja (2015; The Trees’ Dream: Hay(na)ku Poems), Finland’s first collection of hay(na)ku, another invented, haiku-inspired verse form.

Other experimental collections from Ntamo featuring haiku or haiku-esque poems included Rauni Anita Martikainen’s ecocritical book of tanka, haiku, Dada poems, and folk songs, Maailmalaiset (2012; Worldlings); Sami Liuhto’s on kirjoittanut runoja (2014; has written poems), a fascinating collection of poems written using constrained writing techniques; Harri Hertell’s Älä häiritse iltaa (2015; Do Not Disturb the Evening), a collection of aphoristic three-liners written on an East German Erika typewriter (and published as typescript holographs, much in the style of American L=A=N=G=U=A=G=E poets Robert Grenier and Larry Eigner), Kari Aronpuro’s essay collection Pyydettyä eli miten ihmeessä kokoelmani ovat syntyneet (2014; What Was Asked for, or: How on Earth Were My Books Born) and, more specifically, the essay titled “Pajupilleilyä: miten haikuja valmistetaan” (Willow-fluting: How to Make Haiku). Aronpuro’s essay on haiku contained his subtly humorous yet profound free-form haiku that referenced Japanese figures such as the monk-poet Ryōkan as well as Finnish art luminaries such as the architect Alvar Aalto.

Basam Books, a relatively new publishing house that concentrates on all things Asian, has accomplished crucial cultural work in promoting Japanese(-inspired) poetry and philosophy. Its publications and reissues have included Bashō’s complete works translated by Kai Nieminen and republished in 2012 under the title Alati matkalla: matkakertomuksia, päiväkirjoja, runoja (Forever Journeying: Travelogues, Diaries, Poems); Santōka’s free-verse haiku, also in Nieminen’s translation (Kaikkialla vuoria—vastapäätä kapakka, 2013; Mountains All Around, Sake Store in Front) and Tero Tähtinen’s Kuunkulkema yö: 108 haikua (2015; The Moon-moved Night: 108 Haiku), which was Buddhist down to its very name, 108 being a sacred number in Buddhism.

Lumen hiljaisuus, 
ääni. Vihossa haiku, 

Snow, its silence
and sound. In my notebook,
a freshly fallen haiku.

Tero Tähtinen, in Kuunkulkema yö

Another publishing house that represented more traditional poetic currents was Sanasato (1996–2019). In the 2010s Sanasato published a number of successful haiku, beginning with titles by Niklas Salmi, the author of Siipimobiili: haikuja ja muuta lyhytlyriikkaa (2013; Wing Mobile: Haiku and Other Short-form Poetry), Tuntemattomissa taivaankappeleissa (2015; In Unknown Celestial Chapels), and the limited-edition haiku chapbook Shirshasana (The Blue Print Press, 2016). Salmi was chief editor of Haiku (the word is also Finnish for “smoke”), a haiku magazine that appeared only once, in 2013. He has taught haiku and judged haiku contests, and has been actively publishing in international English-language journals and anthologies.21 Salmi’s haiku have also appeared in Lungfuls of Silence / Keuhkojen täydeltä hiljaisuutta (2017; trans. Donald Adamson), a bilingual (Finnish and English) anthology of short-form poetry together with work by Pekka Kytömäki and Arto Lappi.

Sade listaa 
jumalan nimiä 
ranskalaisin viivoin. 

Rain is listing
the names of god
with bullet points.

Niklas Salmi, in Lungfuls of Silence 
(2017), trans. Donald Adamson
Metsä vaikenee. 
Se on sanomaisillaan 
jotain tärkeää. 

The forest has gone
silent, it’s about to say
something important.

Pekka Kytömäki, 
in Lungfuls of Silence
(2017), trans. Donald Adamson

Kytömäki is the author of Ei talvikunnossapitoa (2015; No Winter Maintenance), for which he received the 2016 Tampere City Creative Writing Prize, and Valo pilkkoo pimeää (2016; Light Cuts the Darkness). Most of the poems in both of these collections are haiku and tanka. Kytömäki has also published Aattelu rulettaa (2018; Thinking Rules) and Sytytys (2020; Ignition), both books of palindromes published by Aviador, some of which follow the haiku structure.

Other haiku titles from Sanasato include Arto Lappi’s Sulavesien tanssi (2016; The Dance of Meltwaters) and Heikki Niska’s Solisevaiset: haikuja ja tankoja (2017; Murmurers: Haiku and Tanka).

Promising new publishing houses emerge every year despite the crisis of print media. Another positive sign is that publishing companies from outside big literary cities like Helsinki, Turku, Tampere, and Jyväskylä are starting to get their foot in the door. Smaller, more rural companies with an interest in haiku and other short-form poetry include Aviador from Rajamäki, Reuna from Kerava (see, for example, Andrei Tarsalainen’s Seitsemäs kukka [2017; The Seventh Flower]), and Nispero from Oulu (see, e.g., Vesa Lahti’s Kertosäkeessä kameran silmä [2015; In the Chorus, the Camera’s Eye]).

Sanna Pelliccioni’s Haikuja räjähtäville sydämille (2020; Haiku for Exploding Hearts) marks a new territorial conquest in Finnish haiku writing, as her book is meant for middle school students. It deals with subjects such as crushes, heartbreak, climate change, and the stale stiffness of adults. Pelliccioni, best known for her work as a children’s book illustrator, has enlivened the book with her own abstract watercolors, which are inspired by Japanese calligraphy and complement the changing moods of the haiku.22

Arto Lappi is currently working on the third part of his poetry trilogy, whose poems are titled according to famous poems (part one, Veden ääret [2018; The Verges of Water]), pieces of music (part two, Pohjoiset tuulenpesät [2020; Northern Witch’s Brooms]), or paintings (part three, Ateljee Palander [upcoming; Atelier Palander]). As can be expected from Lappi, many of the poems are either tanka or haiku.

AUTHOR: Niklas Salmi


History and criticism

  • Anhava, Tuomas. “Mitä lukijan tulee tietää?” (What Does the Reader Need to Know?). Parnasso 2 (1952), 222–30.
  • Aronpuro, Kari. “Pajupilleilyä: miten haikuja valmistetaan” (Willow-Fluting: How to Make Haiku). In Kari Aronpuro, Pyydettyä eli miten ihmeessä kokoelmani ovat syntyneet (What Was Asked For, or: How on Earth Were My Books Born), 95–107. Helsinki: Ntamo, 2014. Essays.
  • Couchoud, Paul-Louis, André Faure, and Albert Poncin. Au fil de l’eau. Paris: 1905.
  • Magoun, Francis Peabody, Jr. “Foreword.” In The Kalevala: Or, Poems of the Kaleva District, compiled by Elias Lönnrot and translated by Francis Peabody Magoun, Jr. Cambridge: Harvard University Press, 1963, xiii–xxiv.
  • Niinistö, Maunu. Maailmankirjallisuuden mestarilyriikkaa (Masterful World Poetry). Helsinki: WSOY, 1967.
  • Peltonen, Vihtori. Japani nyt ja ennen: uusimpien Japanin-tutkijain esitysten mukaan toimitettu (Japan Now and Before: Edited According to Japanologists’ Newest Studies). Porvoo, Finland: Werner Söderström, 1904.
  • Vihavainen, Raija. “Harrastuksena haiku” (Haiku as a Hobby). Haiku—Haikurunouteen erikoistunut kirjallisuuslehti 1:1 (2013), 9–10.

Translation anthologies

  • Anhava, Tuomas, trans. Kevään kukat, syksyn kuu: kootut tankarunot (Spring Flowers, Autumn Moon: Collected Tanka). Helsinki: Suuri suomalainen kirjakerho, 1982.
  • Anhava, Tuomas, trans. Kuuntelen, vieras: valikoima klassillisia japanilaisia tanka-runoja (‘I, as a Stranger’: A Selection of Classical Japanese Tanka Poems). Helsinki: Otava, 1960.
  • Anhava, Tuomas, trans. Oikukas tuuli: toinen valikoima japanilaisia tankoja (Whimsical Wind: A Second Selection of Japanese Tanka). Helsinki: Otava, 1970.
  • Anhava, Tuomas, trans. Täällä kaukana: kolmas valikoima japanilaisia tankoja (Here, Far Away: A Third Selection of Japanese Tanka). Helsinki: Otava, 1975.
  • Keravuori, Marta, trans. Kirsikankukkia: Japanin klassillisten runojen suomennoksia (Cherry Blossoms: Translations of Classical Japanese Poems). Helsinki: WSOY, 1951. The 3rd edition (1967) includes original tanka by Keravuori.
  • Kerouac, Jack. Haikujen kirja (Book of Haiku, 2003). Edited by Regina Weinreich and translated by Arto Lappi. Turku, Finland: Sammakko, 2006.
  • Masaoka Shiki. Shiki: japanilaisia haiku-runoja neljälle vuodenajalle (Shiki: Japanese Haiku Poems for the Four Seasons). Translated by Heikki Mallat, Tanja Häkkinen, Miia Hämäläinen, and Marko Kempas. Espoo, Finland: Orienta, 1999.
  • Matsuo Bashō. Alati matkalla: matkakertomuksia, päiväkirjoja, runoja (Forever Journeying: Travelogues, Diaries, Poems). Translated by Kai Nieminen. Helsinki: Basam Books, 2012. Bashō’s complete works in Finnish.
  • Oittinen, Hannu, trans. Aika sattuu: vironhaikuja (Time Hurts: Estonian Haiku). Tampere, Finland: Palladium Kirjat, 2011. Translations from the Estonian of Asko Künnap, Jürgen Rooste, and Karl Martin Sinijärv.
  • Portin, Kari Juhani, ed. and trans. Lumikurki: japanilaisia tanka- ja haikurunoja (Snow Crane: Japanese Tanka and Haiku Poems). [Helsinki]: Alea, 1983.
  • Ramstedt, G. J., trans. Japanilaisia runoja (Japanese Poems). Porvoo, Finland: WSOY, 1953.
  • Ross, Bruce, Kōko Katō, Dietmar Tauchner, and Patricia Prime. A Vast Sky: An Anthology of Contemporary World Haiku. Bangor, Maine: Tancho Press, 2015.
  • Sapkota, Janak. Tulikärpänen valaisee sivun / A Firefly Lights the Page. Finnish translations by Arto Lappi. Tampere, Finland: Sanasato, 2012. Haiku by a Nepalese haiku poet living in Tampere, Finland.
  • Taneda Santōka. Kaikkialla vuoria—vastapäätä kapakka (Mountains All Around, Sake Store in Front). Translated by Kai Nieminen. Helsinki: Basam Books, 2013.
  • Wendt, Ernst von, trans. Kärlek och vår i Japan: japanska dikter i svensk omklädnad (Love and Spring in Japan: Japanese Poems in Swedish Translation). Helsinki: Schilds, 1925.

Finnish haiku anthologies

  • Kytömäki, Pekka, Arto Lappi, and Niklas Salmi. Lungfuls of Silence / Keuhkojen täydeltä hiljaisuutta. Translated by Donald Adamson. Tampere, Finland: Sanasato, 2017. Anthology of short-form poetry (including haiku) in Finnish and English.
  • Leikola, Wili, and Juhani Lompolo. Haikuja huumorilla (Haiku with Humor). Espoo, Finland: Orienta, 2003.
  • Lompolo, Juhani, et al. Haiku-runoja joka tunnelmaan: antologia (Haiku Poems for Every Mood: An Anthology). Espoo, Finland: Orienta, 2000. Haiku by Shiki and members of HaikuJapania.

Individual haiku and haiku collections

  • Aikio, Inger-Mari, and Miro Mantere. Beaivváš čuohká gaba: diktamusihkkaduodji / Aurinko juo kermaa: runomusiikkiteos (The Sun Drinks Cream: A Musical Poetry Piece). Guovdagueaidnu, Norway: DAT, 2014. Haiku- and tanka-inspired poetry in Northern Sami and Finnish.
  • Andersson, Erik. Orden är ögon: haiku-dikter (The Words Are Eyes: Haiku Poems). [Helsinki]: Schildts, 1983. In Swedish.
  • Aronpuro, Kari. Lehmän henkäys: 29 etydiä (The Cow’s Breath: 29 Études). Helsinki: Tammi, 2008.
  • Bäck, Tomas Mikael. Andhämtning (Drawing Breath). [Helsinki]: Söderström, 1972. In Swedish.
  • Esam, John, Tom Raworth, and Anselm Hollo. Haiku. London: Trigram Press, 1968. Includes Hollo’s sequence “17 x 17.” A PDF version of the book is available at The Haiku Foundation website: https://www.thehaikufoundation.org/omeka/files/original/f0073d9532f369b1213c713442dda231.pdf.
  • “Haijin Gérard Krebs.” Haiku—Haikurunouteen erikoistunut kirjallisuuslehti 1:1 (2013), 16–18.
  • “Haiku & senryuu” (Haiku & Senryu). Haiku—Haikurunouteen erikoistunut kirjallisuuslehti 1:1 (2013), 29–31.
  • “HaikuJapania-klubilaisten runoja” (Poems by Club Members of HaikuJapania). Haiku—Haikurunouteen erikoistunut kirjallisuuslehti 1:1 (2013), 11–12.
  • Hertell, Harri. Älä häiritse iltaa (Do Not Disturb the Evening). Helsinki: Ntamo, 2015. Aphoristic collection of three-liners written on an East German Erika typewriter.
  • Hollo, Anselm. Near Miss Haiku: Praises, Laments, Aphorisms, Reports. Chicago: Yellow Press, 1990. Poems, some haiku.
  • Jantunen, Anneli. Neljä vuodenaikaa (Four Seasons). Helsinki: Ntamo, 2007.
  • Kivikk’aho, Eila. Ruusukvartsi (Rose Quartz). Helsinki: WSOY, 1995. Tanka and haiku.
  • Kontiokari, Eeva. Sateen jälkeen: mieterunoja (After the Rain: Aphoristic Poems). [Vaasa, Finland]: [Eeva Kontiokari], 2010.
  • Köykkä, Risto. Perhosetkin ovat vielä hengissä (The Butterflies Too Are Still Alive). Helsinki: Otava, 1998. Haiku-inspired poems.
  • Köykkä, Risto. Tai minä joka olen autuus (Or I Who Am Bliss). Helsinki: Otava, 1996. Haiku-inspired poems.
  • Krebs, Gérard. Der Duft von Heu / Profumo di fieno: 25 Haiku (The Scent of Hay: 25 Haiku). Lugano, Switzerland: Alla chiara fonte, 2017. In German and Italian.
  • Krebs, Gérard. Natur und Haiku—Haiku und Natur: 35 Haiku und ein Essay der Natur gewidmet (Nature and Haiku, Haiku and Nature: 35 Haiku and an Essay Dedicated to Nature). Hamburg: Hamburger Haiku Verlag, 2015.
  • Krebs, Gérard. The Soundless Dance: Haiku. Spalding, Lincs: Hub Editions, 2017. Köykkä, Risto. Pehmeä peili (Soft Mirror). Helsinki: Otava, 1991. Haiku-inspired poems.
  • Kytöhonka, Arto. SATUNAIS.RUN: Maailman ensimmäinen tietokoneen kalvolevylle kirjoitettu & WEAK A.I. -pohjainen runokokoelma (The World’s First Weak AI-based Poetry Collection Written on a Floppy Disk). 1983. Nagauta.
  • Kytöhonka, Arto. SATUNAI2.RUN. 1984. Nagauta.
  • Kytömäki, Pekka. Aattelu rulettaa (Thinking Rules). Rajamäki, Finland: Aviador, 2018. Palindromes, some of which follow the haiku structure.
  • Kytömäki, Pekka. Ei talvikunnossapitoa (No Winter Maintenance). Tampere, Finland: Sanasato, 2015. Haiku, tanka, and free verse.
  • Kytömäki, Pekka. Sytytys (Ignition). Rajamäki, Finland: Aviador, 2020. Palindromes, some of which follow the haiku structure.
  • Kytömäki, Pekka. Valo pilkkoo pimeää (Light Cuts the Darkness). Tampere, Finland: Sanasato, 2016. Haiku, tanka and free verse.
  • Lahnaoja, Heikki. Puitten uni: Hai(na)ku-runoja (The Trees’ Dream: Hay(na)ku Poems). Helsinki: Ntamo, 2015.
  • Lahti, Vesa. Kertosäkeessä kameran silmä (In the Chorus, the Camera’s Eye). Oulu, Finland: Nispero, 2015. Haiku-like poems.
  • Lappalainen, Ossi. Vain tänne yltää maailma: haikuja & mietteitä (The World Reaches Only Up Till Here: Haiku & Aphorisms). [Ruvaslahti, Finland]: [Ossi Lappalainen], 2015.
  • Lappi, Arto. Ateljee Palander (Atelier Palander). Vantaa, Finland: Enostone, upcoming.
  • Lappi, Arto. Ei perhonen siivistään tiedä (The Butterfly Does Not Know of Its Wings). Kaarina, Finland: Kaarinan kaupunki, 2001. Tanka.
  • Lappi, Arto. Kukko puussa: mitallisia runoja (The Rooster in the Tree: Poems in Meter). Turku, Finland: Sammakko, 2002.
  • Lappi, Arto. Pohjoiset tuulenpesät (Northern Witch’s Brooms). Vantaa, Finland: Enostone, 2020. Poems, many of which are haiku and tanka.
  • Lappi, Arto. Sulavesien tanssi (The Dance of Meltwaters). Tampere, Finland: Sanasato, 2016. Haiku, tanka, and free verse.
  • Lappi, Arto. Veden ääret (The Verges of Water). Vantaa, Finland: Enostone, 2018. Poems, many of which are haiku and tanka.
  • Lastikka, Pirkko. Etäisten teiden haibun (A Haibun of Remote Roads). Helsinki: Basam Books, 2017. Haibun inspired by Bashō’s travelogues.
  • Lehtonen, Rea. Harmaan satama (The Port of Gray). Helsinki: Ntamo, 2008. Haiku and senryu.
  • Lehtonen, Rea. Samaa pimeää (The Same Dark). Helsinki: Ntamo, 2012. Haiku and senryu.
  • Leikola, Markus. Pallomaapallo: haikuja jalkapallon MM-kisoista (Ball Globe: Haiku on the Soccer World Cup). Helsinki: Ntamo, 2014.
  • Lievonen, Annikki. The Blue of Longing: Haiku Poems. (N.p.): Finn-Estonian Publishing Group, 1993. In English.
  • Liuhto, Sami. on kirjoittanut runoja (has written poems). Helsinki: Ntamo, 2014. Poems written using constrained writing techniques.
  • Lompolo, Juhani. Viisautta vuodeksi: haiku joka päivälle (Wisdom for the Whole Year: One Haiku for Every Day). Espoo, Finland: Orienta, 2008.
  • Luukkonen, Lauri. Gul’aičen kylän juamal (I Stroll Down the Village Street). Helsinki: Karjalan Kielen Seura, 2019. Haiku and tanka in Karelian.
  • Martikainen, Rauni Anita. Maailmalaiset (Worldlings). Helsinki: Ntamo, 2012. Ecocritical collection of tanka, haiku, Dada poems, and folk songs.
  • Nieminen, Kai. Joki vie ajatukseni (The River Takes My Thoughts Away). Helsinki: Tammi, 1971.
  • Niska, Heikki. Solisevaiset: haikuja ja tankoja (Murmurers: Haiku and Tanka). Tampere, Finland: Sanasato, 2017.
  • Nyman, Maija-Liisa. Vieraskirja (Guest Book). Kaarina, Finland: Kaarinan kaupunki, 2006.
  • Oittinen, Hannu, trans. Assamallan asemalla: vironhaikuja (At Assamalla Station: Estonian Haiku). Tallinn, Estonia: Näo Kirik, 2012. Original “Estonian haiku” by Oittinen as well as translations of work by Asko Künnap, Mari-Liis Roos, Jürgen Rooste, and Karl Martin Sinijärv.
  • Palmroth, Tapio. Haiku- ja tankarunoja (Haiku and Tanka Poems). Kurikka, Finland: Sirius, 1994.
  • Pelliccioni, Sanna. Haikuja räjähtäville sydämille (Haiku for Exploding Hearts). Helsinki: Schildts & Söderström, 2020. Haiku for youth.
  • Pirskanen, Ari-Pekka. Murrerunoja metsästä: haiku- ja tankarunoja sekä mietelauseita (Dialect Poems from the Forest: Haiku and Tanka Poems, and Aphorisms). [Tuusmäki, Finland]: Ari-Pekka Pirskanen, 2014.
  • Polameri, Veikko. veden ääni (the sound of water). Helsinki: Tammi, 1968. Haiku, a tribute to Bashō.
  • Pullinen, Janne. Jospa tietäisit (If Only You Knew). Kurikka, Finland: Sirius, 1997.
  • Pullinen, Janne. Vain unissamme (Only in Our Dreams). Tampere, Finland: Pilot, 2006.
  • Rasa, Risto. Metsän seinä on vain vihreä ovi (The Forest Wall is but a Green Door). Helsinki: Otava, 1971. Short poems.
  • Rossilahti, Riitta. Kivi virrassa: haikuja ja tankoja / A Stone in a River: Haiku and Tanka Poems. [Kauniainen, Finland]: Riitta Rossilahti, 2005. Tanka and haiku in Finnish and English.
  • Rossilahti, Riitta. Kuunsillalla / On the Moon Bridge. [Kauniainen, Finland]: Riitta Rossilahti, 2013. Tanka and haiku in Finnish and English.
  • Rossilahti, Riitta. Vihreä Viittani: haikuja ja tankoja / My Green Cape: Haiku and Tanka Poems. [Kauniainen, Finland]: Riitta Rossilahti, 2009. Tanka and haiku in Finnish and English.
  • Ruusuvaara, Marinka. Enkelipukuja: runoja ja haikuja (Angel Dresses: Poems and Haiku). Tampere, Finland: Pilot, 2007.
  • Salmi, Niklas. Ihon siniset joet juoksevat keltaiseen metsään (The Skin’s Blue Rivers Run into the Yellow Forest). Vantaa, Finland: Enostone, 2020. Includes haiku.
  • Salmi, Niklas. Shirshasana. Vittorio Veneto, Italy: The Blue Print Press, 2016. Hand-press printed haiku chapbook in English, with etchings by Sergio Bigolin.
  • Salmi, Niklas. Siipimobiili: haikuja ja muuta lyhytlyriikkaa (Wing Mobile: Haiku and Other Short-Form Poetry). Tampere, Finland: Sanasato, 2013.
  • Salmi, Niklas. Tuntemattomissa taivaankappeleissa (In Unknown Celestial Chapels). Tampere, Finland: Sanasato, 2015. Short poems including haiku.
  • Storgårds, Birgitta Maria. Skörda höstlöv: dikter i haikuns och tankans form (Harvesting Fall Leaves: Poems in Haiku and Tanka Form). Skellefteå, Sweden: Ord & Visor, 2004.
  • Stråhlman, Kristiina. 2 S: Haiku ja kuva / Haiku ja pilt / Haiku och foto / Haiku and photo. Helsinki: BoD, 2010. Photo haiga in Finnish, Estonian, Swedish, and English.
  • Tähtinen, Tero. Kuunkulkema yö: 108 haikua (The Moon-Moved Night: 108 Haiku). Helsinki: Basam Books, 2015. Buddhist haiku.
  • Tarsalainen, Andrei. Seitsemäs kukka (The Seventh Flower). Kerava, Finland: Reuna, 2017. Haiku.
  • Tikkanen, Juhani. Dolby C. Helsinki: Otava, 1987. Includes haiku and free verse poems as well as translations of Kobayashi Issa’s scarecrow haiku.
  • Valtiala, Robin. Barnvagn i överhastighet: haikudikter (The Overspeed Stroller: Haiku Poems). Helsinki: Schildts & Södeströms, 2013.
  • Westerberg, Caj. Ataraksia (Ataraxia). Helsinki: Otava, 2003. Includes free-form haiku.
  • Westerberg, Caj. Että näkyisi valona vedessä (To Be Seen as Light in the Water). Helsinki: Otava, 1991. Includes free-form haiku.
  • Westerberg, Caj. Läikehtien rientävät pilvinä kivet (Glimmering, the Rocks Rush by as Clouds). Helsinki: Otava, 1992. Includes free-form haiku.

Other publications of interest

  • Hollo, Anselm. rue Wilson Monday. Albuquerque, N.M.: La Alameda Press, 2000. Series of 66 poems in English from the pioneer of Finnish haiku.
  • Kuusi, Matti, Keith Bosley, and Michael Branch. Finnish Folk Poetry: Epic. Helsinki: Suomalaisen Kirjallisuuden Seura, 1977.
  • Manner, Eeva-Liisa. Paetkaa purret kevein purjein (Flee, Boats, with Light Sails). Helsinki: Tammi, 1971. Poems, some haiku-like.
  • Pennanen, Ain’Elisabet. Huomensynty (Birth of the Morrow). Helsinki: Werner Söderström, 1943. Poetry and tanka.
  • Pennanen, Jarno. Elokuun päivä (August Day). Helsinki: WSOY, 1944. Tanka and longer poems.
  • Pennanen, Jarno. Tomun kimallus (The Glint of Dust). Helsinki: WSOY, 1945. Tanka and longer poems.
  • Yasuda, Kenneth. The Japanese Haiku: Its Essential Nature and History. New York: Tuttle, 2011.



  1. Matti Kuusi, Keith Bosley, and Michael Branch, Finnish Folk Poetry: Epic (Helsinki: Suomalaisen Kirjallisuuden Seura, 1977). []
  2. Francis Peabody Magoun, Jr., “Foreword,” in Elias Lönnrot (comp.), and Francis Peabody Magoun, Jr. (trans.), The Kalevala (Cambridge: Harvard University Press, 1963), xiv. []
  3. Kalevalaseura, “Themes and worldview”: https://kalevalaseura.fi/en/about-kalevala/themes-and-worldview/; accessed July 30, 2019. []
  4. Kenneth Yasuda, The Japanese Haiku (New York: Tuttle, 2011), 127. []
  5. Yrjö Varpio, Pohjantähden maa (Tampere: Tampere University Press, 1999), 34. []
  6. Pertti Lassila, “Hieno täydennys Tuomas Anhavan tanka-runoihin,” Helsingin Sanomat, June 1, 2007: https://www.hs.fi/kulttuuri/kirja-arvostelu/art-2000002587841.html. []
  7. Anselm Hollo, “Exegeses,” in John Esam, Anselm Hollo, and Tom Raworth, Haiku (London: Trigram Press, 1968). []
  8. James W. Hackett, American Haiku 1:1 (1963). []
  9. Unless otherwise stated, all translations from Finnish are by Niklas Salmi. []
  10. Heidi-Maria Harju, “Risto Rasa on saapunut risteykseen,” Yle Uutiset, Sept. 12, 2013: https://yle.fi/uutiset/3-6768254. []
  11. Michel Ekman, “Jag eftersträvar en lätthet och det är Haydn,”Nya Argus 109:11–12 (2016), 313–15: http://www.kolumbus.fi/nya.argus/2016/11-12/TMBackNyaArgus11-12-2016.pdf; accessed April 23, 2020. []
  12. Niklas Salmi, Shoofuu-poetiikka ja lukemisterapia (University of Helsinki, 2015), 65. []
  13. For a list of Finnish haiku(-inspired) publications until 2015, see Salmi, 90–96. []
  14. Liisa Enwald, “Kuntokynäilyä—Arto Kytöhonka opettajana,” Nokturno (2018): https://nokturno.fi/poem/kuntokynailya-arto-kytohonka-opettajana. []
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Updated on April 3, 2022