has been an important experimental poet in the second half of the 20th century. His work was influenced by the black mountain poets, especially Charles olson and Robert creeley, and he was a major influence on the language group that included the poets Charles bernstein, Bruce ANDREWS, and Ron silliman. Hollo's poetry is filled with the unexpected; each poem is a singular event, as he states, an "emotional, intellectual entity" (Bielyi 270). His playfulness with form and his stress on the emotional and intellectual aspects of poetry, combined with his many years of teaching, reading, and traveling, have given him a wide international audience.
The son of a translator and university professor, Hollo was born in Helsinki, Finland. He was educated in Finland and the United States, where he was an exchange student in Cedar Rapids, Iowa. In 1966 he immigrated to the United States and has remained here since. He has published more than 30 volumes of poetry, including Sojourner Microcosms: Poems New and Selected 1959-1977 (1977), and he is an award-winning translator from and into Finnish, Swedish, German, French, and Russian. He is also a journalist. His awards include a National Endowment for the Arts Poet's Fellowship (1979), the Finish Government Prize for translation of Finnish literature (1996), and a Gertrude stein Award for innovative poetry (1996).
Hollo's poetry is filled with energy and the unexpected. Humor, both whimsical and satirical, abounds in his work. His poetry is playful in form and subject—versatility is one of his assets—and throughout his work he displays an open spirit and tolerance for many experiences. He captures lyrically the details of the everyday and its moments of perception. Robert grenier once called Hollo's poetry "erratic, comedic, 'tribal,' and profound" (216). This description captures Hollo's evocation of mythic elements, comedy, and his almost surreal vision of human life, which, even though it appears as otherworldly at times, always remains grounded in everyday language. For example, in "when you met him he was a man" (1995), a man becomes a "postage stamp"; this is a world where "mice fall from the sky." This poem shifts rapidly and unexpectedly, following the poet's mind through humor, random thought, and historical references. As in all of his poetry, Hollo gives each poem its own form as it traces the unconscious.
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