Annikki Poetry Festival in Tampere, Finland On Roads Less Traveled

Annikki Poetry Festival

Performers 2018

Annikki Poetry Festival in Tampere, Finland On Roads Less Traveled

9 June 2018 at Annikki Wooden Quarter
in Tampere Finland.

To celebrate its 15th anniversary, Annikki Poetry Festival put together a hugely impressive Finnish and international programme. The performers included people who go their own way in poetry and culture. The theme of the festival was “On Roads Less Traveled”.

Joelle Taylor (UK)

Joelle Taylor is an English poet, author and spoken word performer. She is known as one of the leading performing poets in Britain. Having published several award-winning books, Taylor often writes from the perspective of women and children in the weakest position. She is a regular performer at not only international literary events but rock festivals and clubs as well. Taylor’s latest poetry collection is Songs My Enemy Taught Me, which came out last year. In addition to poetry, she has written plays and appeared in a number of cultural TV programmes and talk shows. Taylor is the Founder and Artistic Director of SLAMbassadors UK, which organises spoken word competitions and training for young people.

Djami Sezostre (BR) & Verneri Pohjola

Djami Sezostre (previously known as Wilmar Silva de Andrade) is one of Brazil’s leading contemporary poets. He has published more than ten collections, and his poetry has been translated into several languages. Sezostre’s rhythmic, exuberant lyric poetry features a touch of everyday absurdity and has found numerous friends in various parts of the world. A Finnish edition of his poems, written under the name of de Andrade, was published in 2015. His latest collection O pênis do Espírito Santo came out recently. Sezostre is known as a wild, captivating performer who lives in the moment. At the poetry festival, he will be performing together with trumpeter Verneri Pohjola.

Trumpeter Verneri Pohjola is one of the most highly regarded musicians in contemporary Finnish and European jazz. In 2004, he was named Young Jazz Artist of the Year, and his career has kept ascending since then. As a musician, he has succeeded in what few have achieved: creating a recognisable style and voice of his own. Pohjola has played a number of international tours with his bands, and his releases have received lauding reviews. In 2017, he received the most prestigious prize given to jazz musicians in Finland, the Yrjö Award. Pohjola’s latest album Pekka includes compositions by his father, Pekka Pohjola. At the poetry festival, Pohjola will be performing together with Brazilian poet Djami Sezostre. With Sezostre’s wild reading and Pohjola’s top jazz improvisation, this performance is not to be missed. You can find Pohjola’s music on our Spotify playlist.

Kätlin Kaldmaa (EE) Cancelled!

Kätlin Kaldmaa is an Estonian poet, writer and cultural figure. She is considered one of the most significant contemporary poets in her country. Kaldmaa has published four poetry collections as well as novels and children’s books. Two of her books have been translated into Finnish. Her novel Islandil ei ole liblikaid (No Butterflies in Iceland) was published in Finnish last year, and a Finnish translation of her openly erotic poetry collection Armastuse tähestik (The Alphabet of Love), which generated much public discussion in Estonia, came out in 2015. Kaldmaa knows several languages and will be performing in Finnish at the festival.

Arja Tiainen

Arja Tiainen is a poet and author living in the Helsinki Metropolitan Area. During her long career, she has published poetry collections, short stories, radio plays and reviews. In the 1970s, Tiainen’s sensual poetry collections written from the female perspective, such as Palava susi (The Burning Wolf) and Vallan Casanovat (Casanovas in Power), created a literary tradition that lives on. Tiainen is still highly creative. Her latest collection Kirjeitä karkailevalle puolisolle (Letters to a Runaway Spouse) came out last year.

Mirel Wagner

Mirel Wagner is a Finnish singer-songwriter whose debut album was released in 2011. The album received rave reviews and gave a flying start to Wagner’s international career. Her chillingly gloomy lyrics and intensely unpretentious interpretations are a captivating combination. In 2014, Wagner signed a record deal with the esteemed Sub Pop label. Her second album When the Cellar Children See the Light of Day was internationally praised by critics and topped the Official Finnish Album Chart. In 2015, Wagner received the Nordic Music Prize for the best Nordic album and appeared on BBC’s popular Later... with Jools Holland show. Wagner is currently preparing her third album, which is scheduled for release next autumn. Annikki Poetry Festival will be one of the first live airings of the new songs. You can find Wagner’s music on our Spotify playlist.

Jaan Malin (EE)

Jaan Malin is an Estonian poet and sound poet living in Tartu. Malin has published eight poetry collections and is known for his absurdly experimental and playful style. The only Finnish edition of his poetry so far, Heräämisiin, came out in 2013. Malin is best known as an internationally acclaimed sound poet, in which context he often uses the pseudonym Luulur. In sound poetry, the poems are not necessarily in any recognisable language but the meanings are created by the phonetic aspects and opportunities provided by the human voice. At Annikki Poetry Festival, Malin will be performing together with artist and poet Timo Salo. Salo will be improvising charcoal drawings to sound poems performed by Malin.

Jayne Fenton Keane (AU)

Jayne Fenton Keane is a distinguished Australian poet and spoken word artist. She has published several award-winning poetry collections and recordings. She has been performing internationally for a long time, and her impressive performances make extensive use of the opportunities provided by performance art, sound and moving image.

Rosa Liksom

Rosa Liksom is one of Finland’s most internationally successful contemporary writers, a visual artist and a versatile cultural figure. Liksom made her name as a writer who pioneered a new genre, short prose, in Finland with her first two books. In addition to her literary work, Liksom is a renowned artist and illustrator and has created comics, paintings, installations, films, plays and children’s books. A recipient of the Finlandia Prize, Liksom most recently published the novel Everstinna (Colonel’s Wife) in 2017. Liksom will be one of the performers at Annikki Poetry Festival’s Prose Breaks together with Laura Gustafsson and Ossi Nyman.

Susinukke Kosola

Susinukke Kosola (real name Daniil Kozlov) is a poet, publisher and poetry activist from Turku. His debut collection .tik. was published in 2014 and went on to win the Silja Hiidenheimo Memorial Award. His second collection Avaruuskissojen leikkikalu (A Plaything of Space Cats) was shortlisted for the Dancing Bear Poetry Prize. In 2012, Kosola founded Kolera, which has become one of Finland’s most esteemed small publishers of poetry. Kosola’s third poetry collection Varisto came out this spring. What makes the new book unique is the fact that you cannot buy it. You can only gain a copy by making an anonymous confession to the author. Well-received by critics, Varisto will also be available at Annikki Poetry Festival for those willing to make a confession.

Jyrki Pellinen & Juhani Aaltonen

Jyrki Pellinen is a poet and author from Helsinki. Having started in the early 1960s, he has published more than 60 books. Kuuskajaskari came out in 1964 and immediately made Pellinen a household name in Finnish contemporary poetry. The book is one of the first Finnish collections of prose poetry. Pellinen has received the State Literary Prize three times and the Eino Leino Prize once. Known his virtuoso poetic language, Pellinen most recently published Venäjän kaivattu aika (The Longed-for Days of Russia) this spring. Annikki Poetry Festival will see a meeting of true legends of Finnish poetry and jazz as Pellinen performs together with Juhani Aaltonen.

Juhani Aaltonen is one of the most significant tenor saxophone and flute players in Finnish jazz. He is a founding member of both Tasavallan Presidentti and UMO Jazz Orchestra. Aaltonen has worked with a number of influential figures in modern jazz, both Finnish and international. He has released several distinguished albums under his own name and played on innumerable significant jazz recordings. Born in 1935, Aaltonen recently became the subject of a biography, Jazzia Jumalan armosta (Jazz by the Grace of God). You can find Aaltonen’s music on our Spotify playlist.

Mari Laaksonen

Mari Laaksonen is a Tampere-based poet who has published two collections. Her latest book elämännielemä (Swallowed by Life) came out in 2016. Known for her strong and original performances, Laaksonen is also a successful performer of poetry. As a poet, she is interested in various combinations of poetry, philosophy and language. For the past few years, Laaksonen has been working with multidisciplinary poetry performances. At the poetry festival, we will see her Valitse hetki (Choose a Moment) performance, a combination of soundscapes and poetry. The performance was created in co-operation with sound artist Frankie Shannon.

Laura Gustafsson

Laura Gustafsson is an author and playwright from Helsinki. Her debut novel Huorasatu (A Whore Fairytale) came out in 2011 and was shortlisted for the Finlandia Prize. Since then, she has published three other novels, the latest of which, Pohja (Rock Bottom), came out last year. In her books, Gustafsson deals with human corruption, otherness and violence against women. A graduate from the Theatre Academy, Gustafsson has written several plays, most recently Kikka Fan Club, which is still being performed by Teatteri Jurkka. Gustafsson has also worked in visual arts in collaboration with artist Terike Haapoja. She will be one of the performers at Annikki Poetry Festival’s Prose Breaks together with Rosa Liksom and Ossi Nyman.

Ossi Nyman

Ossi Nyman is a Helsinki-based author whose debut novel Röyhkeys (Impudence) came out last year. A newspaper article on the book and its author triggered a hectic bout of media publicity that almost became a book war and catapulted Nyman into the national consciousness. Judging by all this, the journalist’s depiction of Nyman as “ideologically unemployed” really struck a nerve with Finns, who are struggling with changes in working life. Partially autobiographical and well-received by critics, the book has been considered a new kind of working-class novel. Nyman will be one of the performers at Annikki Poetry Festival’s Prose Breaks together with Rosa Liksom and Laura Gustafsson.

Esa Hirvonen & Plikat

Esa Hirvonen is one of the leading figures of the poetry movement that started in Turku in the 1990s. He and many other poets who took part in the movement may be considered pioneers of Finland’s current poetry slam boom. Hirvonen has published several poetry collections, most recently Uralin nälkä (The Hunger of the Urals) in 2011. Known as an avid and original performer of poetry, Hirvonen will be seen at Annikki Poetry Festival performing together with Plikat, an a cappella vocal quartet. Hirvonen’s hectic beat poetry and Plikat’s skilful singing will result in a unique, unrestrained performance.

Asa & Band

Asa is one of Finland’s most highly esteemed rap artists. In the early 2000s, under the name Avain, he gained fame as one of the members of the Rähinä Records hip hop collective. On his album Loppuasukas, which won the Teosto Prize in 2009, Asa took a step back from conventional hip hop by taking influences from folk and Gypsy music. With his band Jätkäjätkät, Asa has been one of Finland’s most popular live performers for several years now. In 2015, Asa was invited to make his own versions of classic songs by the legendary Finnish label Love Records and released his album Love to great acclaim. Asa’s latest album Avar Uus came out last year. You can find Asa’s music on our Spotify playlist.


Kölö is a performance which sets out to trace the language of Babel, mixing various languages by all possible means of association. Some of the poetry of Kölö will be published later this year as part of the Poesiavihkot Series.

Debutant[e]s: Lea Kalenius, Niina Oisalo & Pauli Tapio

Annikki Poetry Festival’s fourth Esikoiset (Debutant[e]s) meeting will feature three poets who have recently published their debut collections. The meeting will be led by poet Johanna Venho.

Lea Kalenius’s debut collection Rouva on kadonnut (The Lady Has Disappeared) came out last year. In 2014, Nuori Voima magazine selected her as Poetry Debutante of the Year, and her poems have also been published in other magazines, such as Lumooja and Tuli & Savu. Niina Oisalo’s Darwin-inspired debut collection Valaan silmä, pilvien hai (Eye of the Whale, Shark of the Clouds) came out last year, and she was invited to take part in the E80 debut authors seminar at Pentinkulman Päivät Literature Festival. Pauli Tapio won the Helsingin Sanomat Literature Prize last year for his debut collection Varpuset ja aika (Sparrows and Time). Tapio also works as a translator and is currently preparing his dissertation.

Faarao Pirttikangas & Kuhmalahden Nubialaiset

Faarao Pirttikangas is a singer-songwriter who has been putting his marks in the margins of Finnish rock for a long time. He is considered one of the unknown greats of Finnish popular music. In 2011, Pirttikangas published his first album in Finnish, Kuhmalahden Nubialaiset. His style has been characterised as Finno-Ugrian Delta blues. Indeed, he regards many old blues musicians as his influences. In addition, Pirttikangas has been influenced by, for example, traditional Finnish music, Cajun and Ethiopian-style jazz. Pirttikangas is also known for his collaborations with other artists, such as Pekko Käppi. At Annikki Poetry Festival, he will be performing with his band Kuhmalahden Nubialaiset, which consists of five members. You can find their music on our Spotify playlist

Emma Kantanen

Emma Kantanen is the title artist of this year’s Annikki Poetry Festival. She is a game developer, graphic artist, visual artist, comic artist and poet. On the day of the festival, Kantanen’s exhibition Yhtä ei ole (There Is Not One) will be on display at the Annikki Art Kiosk and in various parts of the festival area. Kantanen will also be talking about her work on the stage.