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Mirkka Elina Rekola
(June 30, 1931 - February 5, 2014) Finland

Mirkka Elina Rekola

Poet

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Already as a child in the industrial town of Tampere, Rekola made keen observations abut the unjust divisions in the world around her. She suffered both from the ideological abyss left by the civil war of 1918 and from the amazing difference that gender made; to her surprise she was not the boy she thought she ought to have been.

Her persistent illness separated her from her peers during her youth, and made her retreat into art, music and literature instead. Homosexual acts for both women and men were illegal in Finland until 1971. At an early age, Rekola realised that it was not sae to speak of her feelings for other women, and she fell into a complete silence.

She moved to Helsinky, where she found her first lover. Rekola went on writing reviews and translations, while continuing with her own poetry. Unlike most Finnish lesbians and gays of her generation, Rekola, after protecting her parents for decades, started to come out publicly as a lesbian.

In 1996, she gave an interview for the women's magazine Anna, where she commented not only on her own "orientation", but also criticised the hostility evident in the public discussion about the registration of same sex relations. She also granted a personal interview for the lesbian and gay magazine Z in 1997.

Already an award-winning author, in 1995, Rekola received the prestigious Suomi prize, the highest national cultural award, for "changing the traditions of both writing and reading". With her ingenious usage of the shamanistic qualities of the Finnish language, Rekola's texts resist the trials of translation. However some of her work was translated into French and English.

She died in Helsinki, aged 82.

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