Pentti Saarikoski


Pentti Saarikoski (1937-1983) is one of the most famous Nordic poets of the 20th century, an iconic lyricist of the 1960’s and 70’s, and forefather to many contemporary authors.

His talent was obvious from the very beginning when he published his debut collection Poems in 1958. His big break-through, however, took place in the early 1960’s, when the character of his poetics and personal way of expression were becoming fully formed.

Pentti Saarikoski was a genius, an active communist, a drinker, a legend and a ladies’ man who married four times during his life. But above all he was a master of poetry, who expressed the fragility of human life.

Saarikoski studied Roman and Greek literature at the University of Helsinki, as well as Esthetics and folk poetry. In his poems, he renounces the aims of unity and integrality, cultivating fragmentary expression. He rejoices in the mixture of high and low, sublime and commonplace subjects, and different stylistic levels. His poetry is also openly political and dialectic.

“My life could not be written in the form of a novel; maybe because it is a novel: an object of imagination, a lie. I make fiction out of my life, so that it would be true.”