Short curriculum vitae:

- Name: Jouni Tossavainen

- Birthplace and -time: Tervo, Finland, 10.10.1958

- Studies: University of Tampere master's degree, 1987, University of Jyväskylä master of Arts, 2004

- Workplaces: Journalist and editor newspaper Savon Sanomat, Kuopio, 1987--2000, free author and poet 2000--

- Place of residence: Kuopio, Finland

Jouni Tossavainen setting up The Eskimobar on the lake of Kallavesi, Kuopio, Finland.

My novel "Summerday" was published 2013, "Outsiders" 2011 and "School" in the year 2009.

You can check some material of "The Spruce Book" from here, by searching for labels: "puut (spruce)" and "runo (poetry)". The "Spruce Book" was published by Like in october 2008.

Most important works:

- Juoksijan Testamentti, Testament of The Long-distance Runner, poems, Gummerus 1985

- Kaksitoista kuvaa, Twelve Images, poems, Gummerus 1986

- Hevoskomppi, Beat of The Horse, poems, Gummerus 1988

- Metsännenä, The Nose of Spruce Wood, poems and photos, Kustannuskiila 1990

- Hakamono. Autoalan pikkujättiläinen, The Automobile Giant, poems, Like 1992

- Lentävä C, short stories, Like 1994

- Arboreta, Arboretums, poems, Like 1995

- Koirastähti, novel, Like 1996

- Laani. Valitut puurunot 1985 – 1998, Timberstore. Selection of The Best Treepoems 1985 – 1998, Like 1998.

- Vihtapaavo, novel, Like 1999

- Kaikki hyvin. Tekstiviestit Kuopio – New York, OK. Mobile Messages - Kuopio – New York, poems, Like 2001

- Kaikki hyvin. Kuunnelma, OK, Radio Play, Yleisradio 2002, poems, Lulu 2007

- Kylmä maraton, short stories about sport, Like 2002

- Liiketoimintasuunnitelma, The Business Plan, poems, Like 2004

- Euroopan omistajat, We Are The Winners of The Europe, novel, Like 2004

- Eskimobaari, The Eskimobar, novel, Like 2006

- Kerro, Tell, poems, Like 2007

- Kerro (partituuri), Tell (score), poems Lulu 2007

- Kuusikirja, The Spruce Book, poems and photos, Like 2008

- Koulu, School, novel, Like 2009

- Sivullisia, Outsiders, short stories, Like 2011

- Kesäpäivä, Summerday, novel, Like 2013

Mr. Tossavainen (or Pippi's monkey Mr. Nilsson) in The Runeberg's Spruce.


if you're going to tell

in the same world

where spruces have to freeze in the forest

so they won't crumble at Christmas

and the Southspruce will be remembered as long as

the citadel

of songs

will last

The series of eight poems called ”Katkovirta” has been released in a collection called Liiketoimintasuunnitelma, published by Like in 2004. Every poem has a connection to one specific creation in “Maisemagalleria” (Landscape Gallery), which is the biggest experimental art- and landscape art painting gallery in Finland. Landscape Gallery’s artpieces can be found from Northern Savo alongside road 5, in about the radius of 180 kilometers between Varkaus and Sukeva.

translated by
Hildi Hawkins

Null point

When darkness strikes
fire, it sets in motion
the time of light

From Europe to Savo
greetings from your road
to our bank

1. Pain spot

a wet, black bough
in white Finland
a monument to lasting beauty *)

From the Varkaus junction
180 kilometres
to Sukeva jail

and the same back again
in the same jail
in another stream

with a pair of grooves as bars
I cannot steer this tin cell
and the oncoming lights blind me

in this dark basket
we descend toward the depths
our rear lights the pain spots of the girl racer

she’s so happy,
Tiina, she steals time from time
she does not die, she has the right to kill

two streams, two rivers of wheels
descend toward the depths
with the broken line of Tuonela**) between them

Styx, Styx, Styx’s,
the gate black and white,
black or white, on or off

the yellow line
calls a halt to
the Morse code of life and death

by stopping I take
receive from the road power
I absorb

the entire landscape’s
round road at the stop
rest in one place

memory and thought
unity of beginning and end
only in my head

the platform of time
I drive off the road of authority
and it is a very strange feeling ***)

2. Nesting tree 7 April 2001

‘what are those cats in the trees’
Siiri asks in the front seat
‘pussy willows’ I say in passing

the witches’ broom of Varkaus
Siiri doesn’t manage to see
although all the horses do

returning from Mikkeli
the puppy’s nesting basket
is a bath-towel on the back seat

as soon as we reach Varkaus I see
how a horse-girl
grew into a dog-girl

and the witches’ broom
buttons in a scant coat
or cats

on a sooty road
the piece of black branch sprouts
art in summer and snow

3. Safety zone

the aeroplane sees
the glow-worm wriggling
in a single rope for 180 kilometres

or a yellowhammer from one end to the other
a single black branch
or trunk road

my country’s backbone
Highway Five, the Savo bread road
a long hunger belt

a light safety net
a spider’s web
on the wall of the cliff

catches my eye
and must be shooed away immediately
like fear

don’t get in the way
drive as if you were queuing
your turn to Manala****)

we were a place
now I am a straight road on a ball
I devour chewing gum alone, the tyres the road

back and forth
my golden mouth and dollar smile roll
from one end of the branch to the other

the road runs, runs the highway
Highway Five one and the same
distance no, I am my road

bitten by
growling rubber
in four dark corners

my road takes trees, brings arrivals
but I am lost
departures amid the forests

deepest in us
is the surface
sometimes it is called the skin

the tin man makes not his road
but a coffin within himself, an unswarming
machine which smokes on to its branch

bites back and forth
devours fish, birds, dance
dresses all dreams in uniform

4. The yellow line

on the highway that leads to heaven
escalators of cars
queue of smoke-cans

the heavenly father cries,
make more road on the stomach
or you will have to walk

when the beautiful catches the road-prisoner’s eye
it makes him slightly doubt
all cross-art

(is the zip undone?)

spaces in space, continual arrivals departing
new grooves in the old place
a gallery of landscapes before the eyes

in the tunnel of forest clearings, a scar
a panoramic view in the field-drain
a snowy contacting surface in the ink

a yellow line in the cloud or
by the Poskimäki access ramp
500 metres of sunflowers

(when the black flowers
stick up out of the lap of winter
a cool sight in the net!)

in the long-necked nesting boxes
police nest today
they survey the traffic with the power of light

we set off in darkness
and attained light
in order to see the traffic offence tickets

5. The wanderer

Walking road
forest road

Village road
church road

Ice road
escape road

Mill road
market road

Main road
courthouse road

Road of tears
road of lamentations

Riding road
war road

Wheel road
trunk road

Rubber road
Highway Five

6. A revelation

is gold good enough
the golden goat awaits
a customer on to whose neck to stride

those who make the error of admiring
their necks cricked against the sky
the gilded calf

will soon bang their noses
against Finland’s biggest iron statue
or the cold wall of stone

in the autumn the elk-hunters aim
their binoculars at the Russian bambi
and in winter a path winds up to the gold

7. Landscape theatre

on the road
dead times are alive
the hare does not have a bar code

or the asphalt tan
however much your throttle foot burns
the nerves of the roadman

I enjoy death
I overtake
still more quickly

dead times, timeless roads
thus do the birds and fishes
overtake you, and all the plants

the road takes hundreds
brings thousands of years
over the dead

and over them unnoticed
I breathe in the crosslight

8. End point

Simo Leinonen’s memorial tree
three lighted spruces
at the Kuopio junction

on the spruce carpet of the sawdust trail
all the tractor tracks
toward the sky

all the snowy winter
look and bow
in the darkness of this city

your memorial statue is a festival of light
stars stars
and three golden spruces

father, son and the tracks of the tin tractor
relate in astonishment
how such low lamps

can achieve such high velocities

*) ‘Man-Made America’, Yale University Press, 1963
**) The river of Manala, or Hades, in ancient Finnish mythology
***) The astronaut Buzz Aldrin on the Moon
***) restaurant in Helsinki

Poet and writer Jouni Tossavainen has directed his verbal curiosity towards blog writing in his eighth prose work, entitled Sivullisia (‘Outsiders’, Like, 2011); it consists of a collection of (fictional) blog posts, which seem to contain plenty of junk as well as treasures.

The book is a dizzying linguistic playground; it includes posts, around a page in length, from 157 ‘outsiders’. Escaping the familiar structures of language usage gives rise to snapshots of estrangement.

The narrator of the book claims to have assembled his material from a collection of blog posts received from the greater Helsinki region. Individual fragments of views and facts are like codes that have lost what they were meant to unlock. Mocking, satirical jibes emerge from the texts, accompanied by a sneaking suspicion of understanding and solace, as there ought to be in a true carnival.

Tossavainen’s humour adds a gentle, perhaps more rural shade to the urban cultural landscape. He writes these experienced and less-experienced contributors with rather capricious voices: the result is a discordant yet collective mixed choir. Sivullisia portrays people in terms of their professions, jobs or free time that get muddled up with work or unemployment. The fragmentary stream of consciousness gallops back and forth in an arena from which the voices of the outsiders are thrown into the chaos of the world, mirroring it.

This collection of flowing, torrenting yet brief texts shows that people can – and do – say anything they want at their computers. Tossavainen (born 1958) provides an acrobatic exemplar of this phenomenon. Each blog post starts with a word or job title that describes its writer’s current occupation, from A to Z. The uncensored nature of the Internet reveals something about what links people’s regular jobs to often pointless actions and activities in order to demonstrate the relationship of alienation and outsiderness to all of life.

The narrative, bordering on the absurd and the surreal, is linked to sharp cultural criticism and contemporary satire between the lines. Convoluted slapstick stories develop into tragicomedy, something more serious and even sentimental. These outsiders give us a unique reading of our blogging era.

Translated by Ruth Urbom - Original story from Blog-jam