The Annikki Poetry Festival

7th June 2014
Annikki Wooden Quarter
Tampere, Finland

The Annikki Poetry Festival has just reached its 10th anniversary, and has grown to be one of Finland’s foremost poetry events. The festival’s focus is still on poetry, although it has expanded to also include prose, music and the visual arts. The Annikki Poetry Festival aims to vitalize contemporary poetics and to put together surprising combinations of performers, as well as redefine the very boundaries of what poetry events can be.

In addition to Finnish performers, the festival also regularly features high profile international luminaries. Performance poets to have partaken in the festival in recent years include Anne Waldman, Kido Shuri, Nikky Finney, John Cooper Clarke, John Giorno, Jaan Kaplinski – many of whom had never been previously featured in Finland. Our Finnish performers always represent both more established authors and more recent contemporary voices. The Annikki Poetry Festival is a non-profit event organized by volunteers.

The Venue

The venue of the Annikki Poetry Festival is a 100-year-old wooden town quarter in the centre of Tampere city, which has served as a very special, warm and welcoming milieu for poets and audience to meet and mingle. The venue is accessible for wheelchair users. There is an accessible toilet. The assistants of physically disabled have a free entrace to the event.

The Annikki Poetry Festival 2014

The next Annikki Poetry Festival will be held on 7th June, 2014. The theme for this year's festival is Playtime, and the topics to be explored include joy, humor and experimentation. This year's special guest performers, as in years past, have been hand-picked to represent a unique spectrum of poetic voices from abroad as well as from among some of the most exciting and surprising contemporary Finnish wordsmiths. Our children's program this year is once again broad and varied – and not to worry: adults, too, will be given ample opportunity to play around!

In addition, the Annikki OFF program, which has grown around the festival proper, will spread itself across the city of Tampere on 4–6 June, 2014.

Special Guest Performers

The coming summer will bring an amazing cavalcade of international poets to the Annikki festival stage: Hasso Krull (EST), Ron Whitehead (USA), Gerður Kristný (ISL) and spoken word powerhouse Henry Bowers (SWE). Our lineup of Finnish artists includes names as varied as Sirkka Turkka, Olli-Pekka Tennilä, songwriter Kari Peitsamo, Tua Forsström, Kirsti Kuronen feat. Chatchai, Kari Aronpuro, Heikki Sarmanto & Juki Välipakka, rap-artist Rauhatäti – and the Dada Poetry Generator, provided by the Sanakuva collective. The festival will be hosted by Mona Ratalahti.

Henry Bowers

Henry Bowers is also known as Kung Henry in his native Sweden. Bowers is a unique combination of respected poet, rap artist, international poetry slam aficionado, comic song performer and untouchable master of countless rap battles around the globe.

Gerður Kristný

Gerður Kristný is an Icelandic poet and author. Her poetry collection Blóðhófnir (Bloodhoof) was nominated for the Nordic Council’s Literature Prize. Kristný’s work is often influenced by Icelandic mythology.

Ron Whitehead

Ron Whitehead is known as the national poet of Kentucky and a close colleague of Hunter S. Thompson. Whitehead’s distinguished career as a poet and author entails numerous poetry collections, spoken word albums and musical publications.

Hasso Krull

Hasso Krull is one of the most notable figures of contemporary Estonian literature. He is widely known as a poet and as a philosophical thinker and conversationalist. He has published ten collections of poetry and numerous other literary works.

Sirkka Turkka

Sirkka Turkka is counted among the most distinguished and widely read contemporary Finnish poets. Her literary life’s work has been recognized with awards such as the Finlandia Prize. Turkka’s poetry has been translated into more than a dozen languages.

Kari Aronpuro

Kari Aronpuro can safely be called a living legend of contemporary Finnish poetry. Aronpuro, an explorer who has published 20 collections of poetry and been awarded with almost as many literary prizes, is widely known for anarchistically playing with all forms of language.

Rauhatäti

Rauhatäti is among the most interesting rising rap artists in Finland. She recently published her debut album, Labyrintti, and at the Annikki Festival she will be tackling the classic poetry of Eino Leino along with her producer, DJ Tes La Rok.

Heikki Sarmanto

Heikki Sarmanto is a jazz pianist and composer of long standing. His work has been inspired by Finnish poetry for decades. At Annikki, Sarmanto will perform his own musical compositions to the poems of Pentti Saarikoski together with singer Juki Välipakka.

Tua Forsström

Tua Forsström is one of her generation's most decorated Finland-Swedish poets and authors. Forsström, winner of the Nordic Council's Literature Prize among others, is known both in Sweden and in Finland for her powerful and emotionally rich poetry.

Kari Peitsamo

Kari Peitsamo is a singer-songwriter par excellence, a master of irony, wordplay and showmanship with a colorful career spanning five decades and dozens of albums. Peitsamo's fantastic playfulness has found expression in eccentric acoustic ditties and unstoppably awesome rock'n'roll tours de force alike.

Kirsti Kuronen

Kirsti Kuronen is a poet and author living in Lempäälä, southwestern Finland. At the Poetry Festival she will be representing verbal artistry as audience participation and by performing her own work together with young beatboxer Chatchai from Tampere.

Olli-Pekka Tennilä

Olli-Pekka Tennilä is a poet with two published collections as well as the publishing manager of the Poesia Cooperative. Tennilä, highly regarded for his versatile ability to play creatively with the Finnish language, was the recipient of the coveted Runeberg Prize in 2013 for his second collection, Yksinkeltainen on kaksinkeltaista.

Relax at our Prose Intervals!

What would a poetry festival be without prose? Between poetry performances, we've invited prose authors to read their work aloud to find out how these writers interpret the theme of "playtime". So take a break and enjoy our prose intervals with Riikka Pelo, Alexandra Salmela and Miki Liukkonen!

Debut Meet-&-Greet

This year it's time to meet some first-time authors, first hand, for the first time! The Esikoiset meet invites poets debuting their work to mingle and get together with their readers-to-be, with poet Johanna Venho at the helm. The Esikoiset first-timers this year are Riikka Heinonen, Miira Luhtavaara, Niklas Salmi and Pirkko Soininen. All poets will also be performing at the festival proper.

Poetry Festival Artist

In recent years, we have invited one creative professional to act as the festival's official annual artist – Outi Heiskanen and Sasha Huber to name a couple. The Poetry Festival Artist 2013 was novelist and visual artist Rosa Liksom, and this year we are proud to welcome the inimitable Julia Vuori as our official festival artist.

A Poetic Art Tour

1+1=3, a poetic Art Tour together with Minna Joenniemi, curator for the Mänttä Art Festival and host of popular poetry TV show Runoraati, will create poetic collisions with the exhibitions and resident artworks in and around the Annikki wooden residential block. The tour will last for 45 minutes in total, and will include two poets Heikki Niska ja Satu Lepistö and their original work. Just tell them which page to read from and let the visual and the textual magics collide.

Festival OFF

In 2012, the Annikki Poetry Festival featured its first own three-day off-programme – Annikki OFF. The program consists of dozens of cultural events, put together by independent event organisers. In 2013, the Annikki OFF events were all rousing successes: the program attracted more than 2,700 visitors. This year Annikki OFF will take Tampere by storm on 4–6 June. Read more (in Finnish only).

Annikki Poetry Festival 2013

The theme for last year's Annikki Poetry Festival (8th June, 2013) was “The Earth”. The theme aimed to explore and celebrate the diversity of our planet and the multilingual wonder of world poetry. The festival brought in more international performers than ever before. Jenni Haukio, poet and First Lady of Finland, was the patron of the 2013 Annikki Poetry Festival.

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Annikki Poetry Festival June 7th 2014 -  PLAYTIME Annikki Poetry Festival 6.6.2013

Anne Waldman

Anne Waldman

Anne Waldman has been one of the most prominent figures in American poetry for decades. She has been called the youngest of the Beat poets. This literature professor, considered a pioneer of modern performance poetry, has published almost 50 works of poetry and several audio records. She still performs actively around the world, often with his son, the musician Ambrose Bye.

Anne Waldman is known for her numerous collaborative projects with poets, musicians and artists such as Bob Dylan and Anselm Hollo, a poet of Finnish origin. Waldman has worked with several central poets of the Beat generation like Gregory Corso, William S. Burroughs, Diane di Prima, and especially Allen Ginsberg.

Anne waldman has long been interested in the possibilities of performance poetry. Among her most known works are Fast Speaking Woman (1975) and Marriage: A Sentence (2000). Her latest poetry collection is The Iovis Trilogy, published in 2011. The Spotify playlist of Annikki Poetry Festival includes Anne Waldman's recordings.

In your opinion, what is the most interesting thing happening in American poetry at the moment?

The interesting developments have been the work with "hybrid" form, documentary poetics, investigative poetics. And the eco-potics which goes way beyond "Nature Poetry" which is so often anthropomorphized. And the subversive epic form, as with my feminist 1,000 page The Iovis Trilogy: Colors in the Mechanism of Concealment. Also more small presses and communities such as the Belladonna collective are thriving. Cross-cultural exchange important too.

You were close friends with the recently deceased Anselm Hollo, who was of Finnish origin. Are you familiar with the works of any other Finnish poets?

I know primarily Anselm's translations of Pentti Saarikoski and Paavo Haavikko. Kalevala - and have dipped into some anthologies.

On which kind of projects you have been working recently/or you are working right now?

I am working on a libretto for the composer David T. Little entitled Artaud in the Black Lodge which will be premiered in 2016. It draws on elements of the life and work of Antonin Artaud, William Burroughs, and David Lynch. My new book Gossamurmur about saving poetry Archive was just published by Penguin Poets.

Jaguar Chronicles is in flux, a depiction of a parellel universe related to the spiritual medicine "ayahuasca". And I am co-editing (with Laura Wright) an anthology entitled Cross Worlds: Transcultural Poetics. My son Ambrose Bye who is a musician and I continue to collaborate and perform. Our recent CD is The Milk of Universal Kindness. And I oversee the Naropa Jack Kerouac School Summer Writing program.

Shuri Kido

Shuri Kido

is one of the leading contemporary poets in Japan. Since 1995, he has published nine poetry collections, and he has been awarded with several significant literary prizes. Kido's first poetry collection, Shoukan, was published in 1986 and received great attention. In 1987, he published his well-known article Sengoshi wo horobosu tame ni. It was the first text that directly criticized the restrictions on contemporary poetry in Japan at that time. Since then Shuri Kido has been considered the leading figure of the new generation of contemporary poetry in Japan.

Kido has published nine poetry collections, the latest of which is Hyouryuubutsu (2012). The name refers to the catastrophic effects of the tsunami in Japan in 2011. The work received Hanatsubaki, the distinguished poetry award. The Finnish translation of Kido's work of poetry will be published at Annikki Poetry Festival during his first visit to Finland. The work was translated by Mayu Saaritsa.

You are visiting Finland for the first time. When you think of Finland and Finns, what are the thoughts and images that come to your mind? Are you familiar with the works of Finnish poets?

The Japanese think of Finland as a scenic land of nightless nights. Of course everyone knows the Moomins, and Marimekko is very popular as well. Also the movie Ruokala Lokki has increased general interest in Finland. When visiting Finnair's head office in Tokyo, I was astonished to learn that there was a sauna. And the door of the sauna a fridge full of beer. Beer really is at its best after sauna. Finnish literature and arts haven't been displayed in Japan much, so I'm looking forward to learning more about them.

In your opinion, what is the most interesting thing happening in Japanese poetry at the moment?

At the moment, Japanese poetry is in a state of confusion after the major earthquake and the nuclear accident that still continues. Japan is a land of quakes and volcanos, and 10 per cent of tectonic energy is concentrated in it. Perhaps it could be said that after the disaster, poets too have to contemplate the meaning of natural forces and nuclear power that is beyond human understanding. Right now Japanese poets have to ponder how to live after a major disaster, like my friend, the poet Ryoichi Wago did in his work of poetry Shi no Tsubute that he published on Twitter.

What kind of projects have you been working on recently or are working on right now?

Japan is surrounded by four seas, the Sea of Okhotsk, the Sea of Japan, the Pacific Ocean, and the East China Sea. My most recent work, Hyouryuubutsu, that was published last year, is put together of photos that I have taken during 10 years and the texts that accompany them. I redefined the relationship between language and things, and examined the moment a poem is born. Right now there are two parallel works in the making: one in which I radically question the origin of words and discuss the birth and development of Japan, and another one, in which I poetically describe Japan, a land consisting of volcanic islands. The shortest verse in the world, the 17-syllable haiku poem, is part of Japanese poetry tradition. Because of its shortness, it is not possible to get a subjective perspective in it, and I'm going to try to use this haiku technique within the limits of contemporary poetry.