Maija Haavisto has had two poetry collections published in Finland: Raskas vesi (Aviador 2018) and Hopeatee (Oppian 2020). In English her poetry has appeared or is forthcoming in e.g. Moist, Capsule Stories, ShabdAaweg Review, The North, Streetcake, ANMLY, Eye to the Telescope, Shoreline of Infinity and Kaleidoscope. Follow her on Twitter: @DiamonDie
Maija writes on Medium about issues like mental health, and hosts hypnosis poetry workshops, a concept she has developed where people first experience an inspiring hypnosis journey and then write. It’s a lot of fun and works surprisingly well!
Read Maija’s work in this issue:
Maija says: I’m a disabled queer poet from Finland. Language fascinates me endlessly, especially English, which is my third language, so I have a bit of an outsider perspective on it. And writing about writing interests me because it’s so damn hard to do well.
I want my poetry to create new paths, not tread old ones. This simultaneously makes me go into more and more experimental directions Recently I composed a poem in WinRAR, which has been accepted for publication), but also makes me curious about “cliché” subjects: could I pull off this one in a way that’s not done to death? (Like I have a scifi poem coming out soon that’s about traveling back in time to murder Hitler, which intrigued me specifically because it’s one of the corniest scifi tropes.)
“Destabilized” is about rejection, which fascinates me, because the word in the context of writing feels emotionally melodramatic—and sometimes I feel like actual rejections can also be melodramatic. I love remixing dictionary entries for my poetry, it’s such a fun way to play with language.
“A Slippery Kind of Darkness” is an interactive poem about what poetry is, and my background in ASCII art also shows up in it (even if it’s hardly obvious from it that I am actually very accomplished as an ASCII artist).
The last poem is an untitled piece and a part of my poetry manuscript; it is the most characteristic of my overall work: both existential and experimental and also in conflict with itself. In general, the concept of “emptiness” is a recurring theme in my work, which probably has a lot to do with my Buddhist practice.
Maija supports the Open Medicine Foundation, which which conducts research on CFS/ME, The OMF envisions improved health care for patients suffering from multisystem chronic, complex diseases with collaboration between patients, clinicians, and researchers.