Vala, Katri 1901–1944

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Vala, Katri 1901–1944

[A pseudonym]

(Karin Alice Heikel, Pecka)

PERSONAL: Born September 11, 1901, in Muonio, Finland; died of tuberculosis, April 28, 1944, in Eksjö, Sweden; daughter of Robert Waldermar (a forest officer) and Alexandra Frederika (Mäki) Wadenström; married Armas Heikel (a chemist), 1930; children: Mauri Henrik. Education: Graduated from teacher's training school, 1922.

CAREER: Worked as a teacher.


Kaukainen puutarha (poems), Söderström (Porvoo, Finland), 1924.

Sininen ranta (poems), Söderström (Porvoo, Finland), 1926.

Maan laiturilla, 1930.

Paluu (poems), Söderström (Porvoo, Finland), 1934.

Pesäpuu palaa, 1942.

Henki ja aine eli yksinäisen naisen pölyimuri, Mikkeli, 1945.

Kootut runot, Söderström (Porvoo, Finland), 1948.

Valikoima runoja, Söderström (Porvoo, Finland), 1958.

Suorasanaista: 30-luvulta ja-luvusta, Kansankulttuuri (Helsinki, Finland), 1981.

Contributor to Hurmioituneet kasvot, 1925; contributor to periodicals, including Nuori Voima; contributor of articles, under pseudonym Pecka, to Tulenkantajat. Work represented in translation in anthologies, including Voices from Finland, edited by E. Tompuri, 1947; Twentieth-Century Scandinavian Poets, edited by Martin S. Allwood, 1950; Singing Finland, edited by K.V. Ollilainen, 1956; Finnish Odyssey, edited by Robert Armstrong, 1975; and Salt of Pleasure, edited by Aili Jarvenpa, 1983.

ADAPTATIONS: Heikel's poems were set to music by Joonas Kokkonen and published, with musical scoring, as Illat, Fazer Musiikki (Helsinki, Finland), 1977.

SIDELIGHTS: Karin Alice Heikel was a Finnish writer who produced collections of poetry under the pseudonym Katri Vala during the years between the two world wars. Heikel trained as a teacher, and she eventually worked in elementary schools situated in some of Finland's more remote regions. She produced her first poetry collection, Kaukainen puutarha, in 1924, and readily showed herself to be a significant writer. In this volume, as well as in Sininen ranta, which appeared two years later, her romantic, free-verse poems, frequently set in exotic lands, prove the norm. Likewise, Heikel's contributions to Hurmioituneet kasvot, an anthology featuring the verse of writers known collectively as "Tulenkantajat," revel in exoticism and free-verse expression.

Even as Heikel succeeded in establishing herself as a proficient poet, she also managed to devote herself to leftist causes. Her political beliefs are expressed in her 1934 collection, Paluu, as well as in articles and essays published in various periodicals, including, under the pseudonym Pecka, in Tulenkantajat, for which her brother served as publisher.

Heikel, who contracted tuberculosis in the late 1920s, was eventually compelled, by both her declining health and the lack of acceptance accorded her radicalism, to move to Sweden, where her brother had earlier relocated. She died there, in a sanatorium, in 1944.



Bonnieres Literara Magasin, September, 1988, Ann Jäderlund, "Katri Vala: Sju dikter" p. 248.


Pegasos, (June 30, 2005), Katri Vala.