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Anselm Hollo

1934–2013

Anselm Hollo was born on April 12, 1934, in Helsinki, Finland. He wrote more than thirty books, including the essay collection Caws & Causeries and Notes on the Possibilities and Attractions of Existence: New and Selected Poems 1965-2000, which received the San Francisco Poetry Center's Book Award for 2001.

His work has been widely anthologized and translated into Finnish, French, German, Swedish, and Hungarian. His translation of Pentii Saarikoski's Trilogy received the 2004 Harold Morton Landon Translation Award from the Academy of American Poets. He was a recipient of a National Endowment for the Arts Fellowship in Poetry, two grants from The Fund for Poetry, and the Government of Finland's Distinguished Foreign Translator's Award.

A native of Helsinki, Finland, he lived in the United States since 1967, teaching poetics and translation at colleges and universities. He was a professor of Writing and Poetics at Naropa University in Boulder, Colorado, where he lived with his wife, visual artist Jane Dalrymple-Hollo.

Anselm Hollo died on January 29, 2013, at the age of seventy-eight.

By This Poet

5

Born Today


     for Jane

is to be one to the one
closest to you
who shares the air
& other elements
right there    next to you

two bodies wrapped in darkness
among millions of other bodies
wrapped in darkness & smoke
war bloodshed & chaos
   voices rising out of the dirt

one to the one    without whom one
wouldn't be one
   who saves one when lost
in regions of the past
raging at bygone constellations
     pursued by a swarm of angst gnats
   who saves by her sight & sound & touch
to notice
     that gravity's strong on this planet
notice
    there's a half-ton of apples in that tree
notice   cricket jumping on cedar branch
   feline humor   magpie elegance

in sum
     this world
born not so long ago
with maybe not that far to go
     still roaming
   the contradictory corridors
of a universe or two
wind turns pages   then shuts book
he looks up   she looks up from piano keys

     hold that frame

Lost Original


Mr. K said   in times of great crudity
it is necessary   to be subtle
so please wrap around me
with awkward grace
I may have suffered some Rilke Damage
or do I just have a little trouble
with fantasy tripwires
while engrossed in the sky's lexicon
& hills like purple pachyderms
"there's been a great upsurgence"
said the announcer   but I didn't catch
what of   & what of where
does it come from where does it go
still asking   on down the road

i.m. Hannes Hollo, 1959-1999

Fought the hungry ghosts here on Earth
"What is man?" asked the King 
Alcuin’s reply: "A guest of space."   And time yes time:
The past lies before us, the future comes up from behind
Walking on Primrose Hill or Isle of Wight beaches
Iowa City streets scrambling up snow-covered deer track
To Doc Holliday’s grave in Glenwood Springs
His helmet now shall make a hive for bees
He fought the hungry ghosts here on Earth
Strong & resourceful on his best days, 
Patient kind and presente
Returning those with him to here & now
But just as we settle in with our Pepsi and popcorn
THE END rolls up   too soon   always too soon



"'What is man?' asked the King": Pippin, son of Charlemagne, 9th century C.E. "His helmet
now . . . ": George Peele, Polyhymnia.