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Librarians discover unseen writings by Eino Leino

Flags fly in Finland on Saturday in honour of poet Eino Leino, who died in 1926. A recently-discovered treasure trove of his papers is on display in Vaasa.

Eino Leinon muistomerkki Esplanadin puistossa.
Eino Leino stands in Helsinki's Esplanade Park. Image: Pertti Nisonen

Eino Leino remains one of Finland's most popular romantic poets, often quoted at ceremonies from baptisms to graduations, weddings and funerals. He was born in Kainuu on July 6, 1878, dying at the age of 47 in Tuusula.

Leino, who published more than 70 books of poems and stories, drew heavily on Finnish mythology and folklore. He was also a journalist and translator of works such as Dante's The Divine Comedy.

Treasure trove in the archives

The city library in the west-coast town of Vaasa has opened an exhibition of recently-discovered letters and sketches for poems by Leino. A cardboard box of papers was found in the library’s archives. Its origin is uncertain, but library staff believe it may have come from Anna-Maj Björksten, the daughter of Leino’s brother Artturi. The author’s niece worked at the library.

The papers include previously-unpublished early writings by Leino in Finnish, Swedish and German. They will be on display until late August, when they will be handed over to the Finnish Literature Society.

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