Traces of stories, nature poems and things we miss

This last issue of 2020 brings you several works of video poetry, sound art, procedural and concrete poetry. Nature is present in several works – as are the exceptional times we're living in.

Olli Aarni debuted in Nokturno in 2018 as our poet-in-digital-residence. He has now created a new piece of sound poetry called Pisarassa. An earlier version of the poem was heard at the Poetry Moon festival in Helsinki earlier this year. Audio tracks in the poem are recorded in Vantaa, Helsinki, Joutsa and Oulu, Finland and in Reykjavik, Iceland. Aarni is an internationally known sound artist and in this piece he enchants his listeners with the manifold sounds of water elements. His text, which he also reads, is poetry of perceptive observation and thinking in nature.

English poet John Cap’s series of three poems utilizes text symbols in creating spatial images. Minimalist series draws from the tradition of concrete poetry and throws its reader into an internal landscape. Relationships between spectator and the objects of perception are clear, there’s the sea, spectator, dreams, dreams at sea, whatever the dreams may be.

Hanna-Mari Ojala’s works have been introduced in Nokturno for example in the special issue on poetry & dance. She has since continued her work of combining poetry and video art. Elämänpuu, Tree of Life in English, refers to a myth of a tree bringing people immortality, health or youth. In her work Ojala approaches the subject from a different angle: what people and trees have in common, which is that they both live in time. Ojala’s tree is teeming with life from different decades, older and younger generations’ voices mix and situations repeat and alter. Following some of the myths the emphasis is on understanding and happiness being in contact with the tree can bring. The audio is compiled from home videos and video and music is created by Ojala.

The most extensive work in this issue is a new work from Taneli Viljanen. In their Jäljet, kuin jonkin uuden silmän äkillinen avautuminen: jokainen mahdollisuus on mahdollisuus menettää Viljanen combines text, image and sound to an ever-changing labyrinth born from traces of stories. The work is programmed by Teemu Tuovinen and the procedure Viljanen has created is based on Markku Eskelinen’s procedure in the work Lähes tunnistamaton mahdollisuus menettää.

Milka Luhtaniemi’s Yhden suhde yhteen had its first screening at the Poetry Week festival in Turku in November. In Luhtaniemi’s piece a poem is slowly dismantled and then rebuilt. In the process a seemingly unified poem reveals the amount of variations it holds in itself. Nokturno’s readers may remember Luhtaniemi from Four Try Outs of Staying, a work combining sound art and poetry released in Nokturno last year.

Corona era resignifies events and phenomena we used to see as everyday (who hasn’t wondered, while watching tv series or a movie from pre-corona era how people seem to stand and sit so close to one another). Oliver Cable is London based poet whose words picked from the noise of a crowd reminds us about the time when music concerts were something that were cancelled only rarely. Cable’s poem is found poetry from a moment before the last concert he saw before the corona restrictions started. It’s also a reminder of how a meanings a work of art holds can change suddenly and in a short period of time.

Christmas is usually considered as a warm-hearted family event but that’s not the case in everybody’s lives. Loneliness and substance abuse can be unwelcome guests in some homes especially in holiday seasons. Parsitut miehet band has created a piece called [juopon] ikävä to address unwelcome feelings of desperation and sadness connected to those. The piece was originally released in May but we all might need words for a exceptionally wide array of emotions this Christmas. Singer Sema Hokkanen picked the lyrics from different sources and combined with the slightly delirium tremens-ish video the piece is a good reminder of the negative effects of substance use.

This issue closes with Loitsu/Spell a bilingual video poem by PoetryFotogenic Team. Riika Helle-Kotka was inspired by a case of suspected witchery in her family in the 17th century and wrote her own spell as a reaction to the corona pandemic. Other half of the duo is photographer and video artist Sanna Telkki-Kova. They also run Runokino, a Facebook site dedicated to video poetry.

Before the holidays there’s the release of To Pray Without Ceasing, a multi-part project our poet-in-digital-residence Kyle Booten has been developing for past three weeks. You can read more about the project and his residence diary here. Next open call for Digital Residence starts at the beginning of 2021. Stay tuned!

Thank you to all of our hundreds of readers and the inspiring poets and artists we’ve published on Nokturno this year. We wish you a more corona-free and better next year!

Virpi Vairinen, editor in chief
and all the other members of the team: Teemu Tuovinen, Elina Sallinen, Juha Rautio and Lauri Hei

(image: screen cap from Yhden suhde yhteen by Milka Luhtaniemi)


* edit. 17.12.2020 13.00 information about the premiere of Milka Luhtaniemi’s poem.



Ääniruno. Ääniraita on nauhoitettu Vantaalla, Helsingissä, Joutsassa, Oulussa ja Reykjavikissa.
Sound poem. Sounds were recorded in Vantaa, Helsinki, Joutsa, Oulu and Reykjavik.