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Lake Onega and Other Poems spans Leevi Lehto's poetry from early 90's to this day, including translated samples from his four Finnish books of poetry from this period (Ihan toinen iankaikkisuus, Otava 1991, Kielletyt leikit, Otava 1994, Ääninen, Like 1997, and Ampauksia ympäripyörivästä raketista, Savukeidas 2004). The translations are by the author, or by the author in cooperation with others; in the case of Ääninen, fully translated for the book, they also serve as examples of the authors view of poetry translation as a radical adaptation and re-writing. The volume will also feature new poems originally written in English, as experiments in "writing in second language" – an approach both justified and critically important in view of the current developments in the networks of global communication. The final poem, "Of the Help Her Art", is a conceptual piece and an experiment in "Google Poetry" from the time of the conception of Lehto's influential "Google Poem Generator".
‘Leevi Lehto’s native language is Finnish, but these poems in English are by no means mere self-translations. Expert translator and linguist, sonneteer, found-text artist, prose poet, post-structuralist theorist, and, perhaps most notably, inventor of digital poetic text, Lehto is consistently amazing, brilliant – and funny. Ranging from his early “imagist” lyric to his Google Poem Generator of recent years, Lake Onega displays an inventiveness and imagination that ushers in a new transnational poetics.’ —Marjorie Perloff
‘In a body of work at once droll and immensely moving, Leevi Lehto “gets things right side upside down” in the variety of poetic jumping beans put in play, as if to speak at all meant taking on a rack of billiard balls coagulated in space without a table in sight. Some of the inducements of Language poetry might suggest that the authors were not native speakers. Not true, but such opportunity is now disclosed – not as legacy, but as primal swerve. And, like a boomerang, it can carom mischievously back on itself, as in the occasional pastiche of imperfectly crafted idiomatic English (“The Finnish Communists in Eastern Karelia”). The delectations of the notes invite another round of gourmandizing for English readers, who will find themselves plunged serendipitously into the haunted precincts of things Finnish, a land as remote as Middle Earth yet, like Frodo’s habitat, strangely proximate to everything you think you know. Lake Onega is a captivating document of inter-lingual poetics mapping a future that will increasingly be where poetry happens.’ —Jed Rasula