Paavo Juhani Haavikko was born on January 25, 1931, in Helsinki, the capital city of Finland, a city in which the poet has lived all of his life and which he has always found attractive and exciting, and about which he also has written a book. Haavikko’s father was a businessman, and after his high school graduation in 1951 and customary service in the Finnish Army, Haavikko also entered the business world, working as a real estate agent. Like many Finnish modern poets, Haavikko has consistently maintained a second profession alongside his literary career; in fact, he believes that an author who is solely occupied by writing loses touch with the realities of life. Indeed, in his poetry Haavikko never seems to be an observer on the sidelines; he appears to be in the middle of the events and freely uses concepts and imagery from commerce and the business world in his creative writing, most of which he has done on weekends. From the late 1960’s, Haavikko has been the literary editor for a major Finnish publishing company and a literary consultant to several printing presses. In 1955, Haavikko married poet and writer Marja-Liisa Vartio (born 1924); she died in 1966. Haavikko and literary historian Ritva Rainio Hanhineva were married in 1971.
Haavikko has always, in his work, shown a great skepticism toward any political or philosophical ideology: “If the philosophy is wrong, all deeds become crimes.” Varying political ideologies are much the same in...
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