V. S. Luoma-aho


Kuva: Jussi Virkkumaa

Jyväskylä-based poet V. S. Luoma-aho spends his time at the Saari Residence editing his fifth collection of poems, Safar, which will be published next spring. “In Safar, the themes are, if you insist on looking for them, artificial intelligence, human history and the time after humans, as well as game(theory),” he explains. In addition, V. S. Luoma-aho tries – alongside abundant reading – to write short stories for his short story collection.

In addition to advancing his book projects, he expects to outdo himself, to work on himself. “I have never spent such a long time away from home all in one go, which for a security-driven homebody like me with anxiety disorder is a bit of an ordeal in itself,” he says.

“On the other hand, I want to quiet down, I want to spend time in nature, I want silence. People work far too much in any case, or consume too much. The end result of this is evident, for example, in the IPCC report, as long as you take its overly optimistic viewpoint into account. So, should we do much less or exponentially more than ever?” he continues.

“The nature of poetry allows me to be always at work and never. When taking notes and thinking, it doesn’t matter what time it is, where you are or how many hours you’ve worked, for which you will, of course, pay with sleeping difficulties and your mental health. The flexibility of working hours and not having a boss is both bliss and devastatingly awful,” V. S. Luoma-aho says, describing his artistic work.

In Saari, he reads a lot and jots down outlines for poems. Nature has a special meaning for him at the residence: “I walk about watching birds and looking for mushrooms – while the weather still permits, I take more notes, watch movies or look at artwork. When the time is right, I sit down and squeeze out some text or edit intensively for a few hours, then I repeat the pattern. Sometimes I chat with the others here, or go to sauna.”

“I have written all my books using a similar method, although the possibilities of spending time in nature are quite different here than in the city. It’s as if I was on another planet.  Once the autumn and its grey rain begins, I move on to writing prose, because it requires much more sitting and putting up with yourself at the desk,” he sums up.

V. S. Luoma-aho (born 1984) is a poet and translator from Jyväskylä. He has studied literature and writing at the University of Jyväskylä and is also a founding member and editor of the cooperative publishing company Poesia. Luoma-aho has published four poetry books, “Ruumiita” (2009), “Remora” (2011), “Kronologi” (2014) and “Mantra” (2016), as well as the short work of prose “Luonteita” (2018), illustrated by Jaakko Pallasvuo. Luoma-aho has also translated into Finnish Sam Pink’s work, “I Am Going to Clone Myself Then Kill the Clone and Eat It” (2013).