Finnish North American Literature Association
Aili Jarvenpa was born in 1918 to Finnish immigrant parents in Winton, MN, but
lived most of her young life in Cloquet and Esko, Minnesota. She holds a
Bachelor's Degree from the University of Minnesota, and she served for years as a
high school teacher in Minneapolis. She married Oliver Jarvenpa, also a second
generation Finnish American and a fish and wildlife biologist. She has a daughter,
Diane, who is a poet and songwriter (see Diane Jarvenpa in the bibliography) and
two sons, Robert and Alan.
Aili has engaged in documenting the contributions of Finns in America in terms of
their creative works, and in contributing to the Finnish American literary cannon in
works both of prose and poetry. She has also translated Finnish poetry in to
English, publishing it in a collection titled Salt of Pleasure: Twentieth-Century
"The Flourishing of Finnish-American Literature." Finnish Americana. 10 (1993-
Editor. Finnish American Writers. New Brighton, MN: Finnish Americana, 1983.
In Two Cultures: The Stories of Second Generation Finnish-Americans. St. Cloud,
MN: North Star Press of St. Cloud, Inc., 1992.
With Michael G. Karni, editors. Sampo, the Magic Mill: A Collection of Finnish
American Writing. New Rivers Press, 1989.
---. Half Immersed and Other Poems. St. Cloud, MN: North Star Press of St. Cloud,
---. Tuohela. St. Cloud, MN: North Star Press of St. Cloud, 1982.
---. “First Lesson,” “The Spruce,” and “To Grandmother's House.” In Michael Karni
and Aili Jarvenpa, editors, Sampo the Magic Mill: A Collection of Finnish-American
Writing. Minneapolis, MN: New Rivers Press, 1989.
---. A Coming Home for Me. New Brighton, MN: Sampo Publishing, 1994.
Salt of Pleasure: Twentieth-Century Finnish Poetry. Introduction by K. Borje
Vahamaki. St. Paul, MN: New Rivers Press, 1983.
Eeva Joenpelto's Vetää Kaikista Ovista. For this work, Aili Jarvenpa won the first
Finnish North American Literature Society Prize for Translation in 1994.