Aphorisms by Ville Hytönen

Finnish aphorist Ville Hytönen is a poet and co-founder/director of Savukeidas, a publishing house focused on Finnish and translated poetry and essays. Hytönen spent his youth in Turku but now lives in Tampere. Hytönen’s poems have been translated into thirteen languages, including Georgian and Udmurt. He’s translated Mark Twain and Albanian poetry into Finnish. “I am trying to open up aphorism,” he says, “shatter its traditions and discuss what kind of short sentence we can actually write in the future.” Here, from the bilingual collection Distantly Lyrical published by Oasis of the Smoke Press,  is a glimpse into that future of short, shattered sentences, written in a quintessentially sparse Finnish fashion: an unmistakably dark heart surrounded by the kind of blank white light that produces stark, revealing contrasts….

You can close the door if you know where you’re going.

You can open to door if you know where you’re coming from.

When you are free to choose, the choice is compulsory.

What doesn’t kill, oppresses.

When I fall asleep beside you, you are condemned to resume my life

light is the exponent of form

time erodes everything; it’s a builder

fault in form is an example of the unique

distance means possibilities

form still remembers every cut

only self-confidence doesn’t need to prove anything

searching for work is unpaid work

Listen and you learn how to lie. Lie and you forget how to listen.

I found out how to lie to hacks: I told the truth and nobody believed that.