Born and raised in Finland, Anselm Paul Alexis Hollo made his first trip to the United States during his high school years, when he attended a Cedar Rapids, Iowa, school on an exchange scholarship during his senior year. From 1952 to 1956, he attended Helsinki University and University of Tübingen, Germany. Early employment during the same period included acting as commercial correspondent for a Finnish export lumber firm, as interpreter for the United Nations Atomic Energy Agency in Vienna, and as a literary journalist. Besides his time in Austria, he also spent time abroad in Spain.
By the mid-1950’s Hollo was already reviewing books and writing translations for both German and Finnish periodicals. His first collection of poems, Sateiden Välillä (rain pause), was published in 1956 in Helsinki. While in Germany, Hollo also served as private secretary to his maternal grandfather, chemist Paul Walden of University of Tübingen. In 1957 Hollo married Josephine Wirkus, with whom he would have one son and two daughters.
In 1958 he accepted employment with the European services division of the British Broadcasting Corporation (BBC) in London. He became program assistant and coordinator and remained through 1966.
Besides writing scripts for Finnish and German BBC broadcasts during his time in London, he also wrote broadcasts and, increasingly, poetry in English. While Finnish would remain an important language for his creative work, in the early 1960’s Hollo produced a quick succession of collections of his new English-language poetry. During this time he continued working on literary translations. In the early 1960’s, he translated the works of such authors as Beat poet Allen Ginsberg and rock musician and writer John Lennon into European languages. Simultaneously, he began translating the works of Russian and European poets and novelists into English.
Many of these translations were published by the influential City Lights and Grove Presses of San Francisco, inaugurating an association with the American literary scene that would grow deeper through the years. Hollo would eventually be involved with several American literary...
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