Tommi Parkko (b. 1969) has functioned in the field of poetry more diversely than perhaps anybody in Finland. Apart from being a poet, he has worked as a publisher, critic, educator and teacher. He has founded a poetry magazine, functioned as a guiding regional artist of literature and as a member of art organizations, administered grants and founded a writers’ residency. Parkko has studied theoretical philosophy, aesthetics and Finnish literature at Helsinki University as well as information studies at Tampere University.
Parkko’s poems have been translated among others into English, Swedish, Estonian, Latvian, Russian and Hebrew. His debut as a poet happened with a joint poem collection Old Songs Nameless Animals with Markus Jääskeläinen in 1994. Parkko’s first own collection Short Memory, Sea (Tammi) appeared 1997 and the second Smoothly Talked in the year 2004 (Tammi). Pelican is Parkko’s third poem collection. In addition he has published Write a poem, a writing guide.
Parkko’s (…) base is the barrenness of Finnish expanses. From the firm soil draw forth surrealistic visions, and soon we are moving widely in time and place. Parkko is fond of capricious situations and coarsely made sentences.
– Jukka Koskelainen, Helsingin Sanomat
In his first collection Parkko wrote with raw fury leaving the reader with an impression that now we really are in front of something that is hugely significant to the writer.
– Jarkko Tontti, Nuori Voima
In his first collection Short memory, sea Tommi Parkko appears as a convincing poet. He has a firm grip on language; he finds expressive pictures and uses requisites of history and marine naturally.
– Tero Liukkonen, Helsingin Sanomat.
Parkko’s [Smoothly talked] is a dynamic, capricious and rich in its dark tones, a collection whose poems fit in little comforting pictures. It presents its world convincingly and takes it to a magnificent conclusion with the last poems.
– Juha Siro, Kiiltomato
His new collection, Smoothly Talked, is full of charged language in which the line breaks communicate their own language, whereas empty lines pushed in the middle of the sentence communicate again something else.
– Juhani Tikkanen, poet
In Tommi Parkko’s new poem collection, Pelican, we move in a poetry speaker’s changing mental landscape. If Parkko’s previous collection Smoothly Talked was stamped by an urban landscape’s almost oppressive presence, in Pelican we travel on the outskirts of town near nature and water. Asphalt and hay, stone and meat, white noise and silence, town and nature, provocation and soundlessness wind around each other, take measure of each other.
Water, which is a repeating motive in Parkko’s whole production, allows, however, relief: borders wear out. Throughout the collection appear elements such as rivers, beaches, crayfish, fish, rowboats, the sea, a ship and a whale. From time to time the longing for water is expressed very powerfully: “Like a fish I have to be in order to be saved.”
Tommi Parkko’s structured and well thought verses are in their sincerity touching reading. In the stylish and complete Pelican intimate speech to “you” carries the stanzas. “You” are something beyond definition but invite the reader to the poems’ world.
“You are a war conducted in the mist,
an oath sworn in the haze,
your palm grows a finger after another,
you have extra toes.
You are beautiful, beautiful.
Orginal title: Pelikaani
Publisher: Savukeidas 2011
Softcover 140 x 210 mm
Cover design: Ville Hytönen