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Part I first edition cover of Helkavirsiä
Part I first edition cover, designed by painter Pekka Halonen
AuthorEino Leino
PublisherOtava, Helsinki
Publication date
1903 (part I), 1916 (part II)

Helkavirsiä (Swedish: Helkasånger; English: Whitsongs)[1][2] is a two-part poetry collection by the Finnish poet Eino Leino, published in 1903 and 1916 respectively.[2] Leino wrote the first part in Kangasniemi, in Central Finland, in the summer of 1903, while staying at the summer house of his friend and fellow writer, Otto Manninen.[3][4]

The collection draws inspiration from the country's national epic Kalevala and other Finnish mythology, merging legends and ballads with modern themes and structures.[4]

Helkavirsiä is considered not only Leino's breakthrough and one of his most notable works, but also seminal in the development of modern Finnish poetry and wider cultural identity.[1][5]


  1. ^ a b "Leino, Eino (1878-1926)". Kansallisbiografia.fi. National Biography of Finland. Retrieved 25 June 2022.
  2. ^ a b "Helkavirsiä". Kirjasampo.fi (in Finnish). Public Libraries of Finland. Retrieved 25 June 2022.
  3. ^ "Kangasniemi juhlistaa 100-vuotiaita Helkavirsiä". Helsingin Sanomat (in Finnish). 20 June 2003. Retrieved 25 June 2022.
  4. ^ a b "Helkavirsiä" (in Finnish). Yle. Retrieved 25 June 2022.
  5. ^ Ahokas, Jaakko (1973). A History of Finnish Literature. American-Scandinavian Foundation. p. 149. Retrieved 25 June 2022.

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