The city as a mediating device and as a symbol in Finnish poetry of the 1960s

Harri Veivo

Abstract


In Finnish poetry of the 1960s, the city, and above all the capital Helsinki, is the scene where the metamorphosis of Finland from an agrarian into an urban society is staged, analysed and commented. It is also a symbol that serves to situate the country in the global context, with all the contradictions that were characteristic of the position of Finland in the cold war system. Writing about the city was a means to reflect on the transformations of social and political reality and of the physical environment, a means to represent the confusion these transformations produced or to work towards understanding them. The article analyses the city in texts belonging to the "new poetry" of the 1960s, as well as in texts representing the modernist poetics of the 1950s, arguing that the very co-existence of two contrasting poetic discourses was crucial for the semiotic development of Finnish culture in the period of time in question.

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DOI: http://dx.doi.org/10.12697/SSS.2012.3-4.13





SIGN SYSTEMS STUDIES. ISSN 1406-4243 (print), 1736-7409 (online). E-mail: sss@ut.ee. Postal address: Sign Systems Studies, Dept. of Semiotics, University of Tartu, Jakobi St. 2, 51014 Tartu, Estonia