Anderson, Lauri 1942– (Lauri Arvid Anderson)

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Anderson, Lauri 1942– (Lauri Arvid Anderson)


Born October 27, 1942, in Dover-Foxcroft, ME; son of Arvid (a butcher) and Ruby Emma Anderson; married, 1988; wife's name Beverly (died, 2001); children: Eric, Charlotte, Lucy. Ethnicity: "Finnish-American." Education: University of Maine, B.A., 1965; Michigan State University, M.A. (education), 1969; University of the Pacific, M.A. (literature), 1971; doctoral study at Indiana University—Bloomington, 1983-84. Politics: Democrat. Religion: "Atheistic transcendentalist." Hobbies and other interests: Literature, history, archaeology, ethnology, history of English, Pacific Islands culture, sports, "the search for ultimate truths."


Home—Hancock, MI. Office—Department of English, Finlandia University, Hancock, MI 49930. E-mail—[email protected].


U.S. Peace Corps, Washington, DC, volunteer teacher at Bornu Teachers' College, Maiduguri, Nigeria, 1965-67; high school English teacher in Newport, VT, 1967-69; Mizpah Mission School, Moen, Truk, East Carolines, English teacher, department chair, and dean of boys, 1971-72; American Collegiate Institute, Izmir, Turkey, English teacher and department chair, 1972-76; Finlandia University, Hancock, MI, chair of English language and literature department, 1976—, also director of Humanities Program and rural studies coordinator. Indiana University—Bloomington, teacher of technical writing, 1983-84; Phillips Academy (private secondary school), teacher of English at summer camps, 1995 and 1997. FinnFest, guest writer and lecturer, 1996, 1997, 2004; appeared in the documentary film Toivola: Land of Hope, broadcast on Finnish national television in 2007; presents workshops, including programs at elder-hostels; gives readings from his works.


Modern Language Association of America, American Council of Foreign Language Teachers, Hemingway Society, Midwest Modern Language Association, Council of Michigan Foundations, Michigan Humanities Association.


Grant from Lutheran Fund for Higher Education for University of Guadalajara, 1980; multiple grants from National Endowment for the Humanities.


Snow White and Others (poetry), Silver Hammer Press, 1971.

Small Winter Wars (short stories), Burgess Publishing (Minneapolis, MN), 1983.

Hunting Hemingway's Trout: Stories, Maxwell Macmillan International (New York, NY), 1990.

Heikki Heikkinen and Other Stories of Upper Peninsula Finns, North Star Press of St. Cloud (St. Cloud, MN), 1995.

Children of the Kalevala: Contemporary American Finns Relive the Timeless Tales of the Kalevala (short stories), North Star Press of St. Cloud (St. Cloud, MN), 1997.

Misery Bay and Other Stories from Michigan's Upper Peninsula, North Star Press of St. Cloud (St. Cloud, MN), 2002.

Impressions of Arvo Laurila, North Star Press of St. Cloud (St. Cloud, MN), 2005.

Return to Misery Bay (short stories), North Star Press of St. Cloud (St. Cloud, MN), 2007.

Work represented in anthologies, including Sampo: An Anthology of Finnish American Writing, New Rivers Press, 1989; and Hemingway: The Postwar Years and the Posthumous Novels, edited by Rose Marie Burwell, Cambridge University Press (New York, NY), 1996. Author of a series of weekly fictional profiles in Mining Journal, 1992-94. Contributor of poetry, articles, essays, and short stories to periodicals, including Riverside Quarterly, Passages North, World Literature Written in English, Notes on Contemporary Literature, and Catoptric.


Lauri Anderson once told CA: "I grew up in the tiny, isolated Finnish-American slate-mining town of Monson, Maine. The people of Monson were working-class, close to the earth, and rough. Many were one generation removed from peasant roots in Finland. My mother ran a strict and economical household. Every Saturday she fried several dozen doughnuts and baked beans, breads, cookies, cakes, and pies. The flour bin on that day was the center of the kitchen. My father was a butcher. He raised and slaughtered his own animals and sold the meat from house to house. In his youth he used a horse-drawn wagon, but in my youth he had converted a pickup truck into a mobile meat market. The bed of the truck was covered with blocks of ice and above, the bed was enclosed by a wooden topper that kept the meat fresh. Most of our neighbors worked in the slate mines or in a furniture factory or logged. There were no other industries. Many spoke Finnish at home and English in public. They were practical but toughened. They aged early. They put in long, exhausting hours all week and drank all weekend. On Saturday night they danced fast polkas at the Finnish Farmers' Union Hall. Poverty made them kind to most, but rough on anyone who crossed them. For recreation they fished, hunted, or berried.

"Now, I live in northern Michigan where the people are much the same. I've written several collections of short stories about Finns from the Upper Peninsula and from Maine. The most popular is Heikki Heikkinen and Other Stories of Upper Peninsula Finns. Heikki is a tough, eighty-six-year-old who is often at odds with the contemporary world, but who always tries to keep his dignity. He drinks too much, fishes too often, and gets into minor scrapes with neighbors and the law.

"No one else seems to write stories about contemporary Finnish Americans, so I believe I am filling a gap. Another short story collection, Children of the Kalevala: Contemporary American Finns Relive the Timeless Tales of the Kalevala, comically and ironically compares the mythic giant figures of Finland's national epic to contemporary Finns in northern Michigan. In the Kalevala, Vainamoinen plucks his magical harp and plays his enemies into a swamp, while in northern Michigan a rock band is so loud that it kills a grandmother.

"Because Ernest Hemingway's In Our Time has always fascinated me, I decided to write a book inspired by its extremely complex structure. I also set out to show the impact that a major literary figure such as Hemingway can have upon the American psyche in contemporary times. Similar to In Our Time, Hunting Hemingway's Trout: Stories is a series of related short stories alternated with vignettes. In Hunting Hemingway's Trout, all of the vignettes concern the public image of Hemingway and focus upon his mythomania. The short stories are set in parts of the world that were important to Hemingway and about which he wrote. Often there is an ironic clash between Hemingway's fictive and journalistic worlds and those that I create. His Africa is that of the big game hunter; mine is the genocide of Biafra. His Michigan is vastly different from the Upper Peninsula Finnish of one of my characters.

"Hunting Hemingway's Trout was well received by Hemingway scholars and general readers. The book has served as a text in a number of university literature classes, and some of the stories in this collection have been anthologized."

More recently Anderson added: "In Impressions of Arvo Laurila I integrated fiction, nonfiction, and journalism to create a ‘hyper reality’ in which it is impossible for the reader to tell what is more or less factual and what is purely imaginative.

"I now have two short-story collections set in the mythical community of Misery Bay, which is juxtaposed onto the real community in northern Michigan. I hope to make Misery Bay my own, as Hemingway made Kilimanjaro his."



Lago, Don, On the Viking Trail: Travels in Scandinavian America, University of Iowa Press (Iowa City, IA), 2004.

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Anderson, Lauri 1942– (Lauri Arvid Anderson)

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