Wednesday, October 13, 2010

Lillian Lehto to read, sign book of poems on Finnish-American immigrant life Oct. 14

HANCOCK -- Lillian Lehto will conduct a reading and book signing at Finlandia University’s North Wind Books from 4 p.m. to 5 p.m. Thursday, Oct. 14.

Lillian Lehto will conduct a reading and book signing of a collection of poems by her grandfather, which she translated from Finnish into English, on Thursday, Oct. 14, at North Wind Books in Hancock. (Photo courtesy Finlandia University)

Lillian Lehto has compiled and translated into English the poems of her grandfather, Eelu Kiviranta, who emigrated from Finland to the Upper Peninsula of Michigan at the turn of the 20th century to seek a better life.

The one-of-a-kind book, A Rascal’s Craft: Musings of a Finnish-American Immigrant, offers a glimpse into the immigrant experience through the Finnish storytelling tradition of arkkiveisu. Published by Momentum Books of Royal Oak, Mich., the book is in both Finnish and English.

Kiviranta’s engaging poetry describes a variety of immigrant experiences -- from what it was like to work in Michigan ’s copper mines, to the Temperance Movement, to commentary on America’s new-found obsession with the horseless carriage.

Lehto took up the translation challenge as a labor of love after professional translators said it would be too daunting a task. Her translations preserve the poems’ style and enchanting rhyme, providing a unique and enjoyable cultural experience. This book marks the first time Kiviranta’s poems have been translated into English.

Publication of A Rascal’s Craft was made possible in part by support from Finlandia Foundational National. Kiviranta’s great-grandson, attorney and award-winning Michigan author Steve Lehto, is a contributor to the book and wrote its introduction.

James Kurtti, director of the Finlandia University Finnish American Heritage Center, writes in the book’s foreword, "I trust I speak for the Finnish-American community when I express gratitude that the works of Eelu Kiviranta have been taken from 'the cold' and shared with us."

A Rascal’s Craft is available for purchase at North Wind Books and online.

For additional information about the book signing, contact North Wind Books at 906-487-7217.

No comments: