I thought I'd get back to routine, but instead when I got here early this morning (still dark outside), I found an email from Finland which I allowed to distract me and send me happily off in all kinds of other directions.
Petri Liukkonen is the librarian in the small Finnish town of Kuusankoski. He/she writes the biographies on a website entitled Authors' Calendar (see http://www.kirjasto.sci.fi), which I'd quoted in the review of Szymborska's work. I'd emailed a few days ago to say thank you. I had also noticed the absence of two favourite authors from his Nordic Authors list - Bodil Malmsten and Per Pettersen. So I mentioned that too and he/she wrote to say thank you and let me know that they were candidates for the list.
In the email was this wonderful sentence:
"My expertise has always been my ignorance".Have sent an email round the Quotations website to see if anyone has a source.
Did some reading about Petri and the website and discovered that it is famous in Finland - received a prize from a PEN sounding organisation - and overseas - mainly the US - where many universities recommend it as a source for people studying English Lit. And yes, Janet Frame is on the list. Not Frank Sargeson. Or Lloyd Jones for that matter.
Meanwhile have mislaid Billy Collins somewhere, very frustrating, but am reading a Philip Larkins' bio, his poetry which I like more and more, and a book called Sing-Song by Anne Kennedy (Auckland University Press, 2003), which is about her daughters' exczema and the suffering that resulted from it. First time I've read a book of poems this compulsively. Anyone who has ever had a suffering child will respond to it, that I know.