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Eino Leino

Eino Leino (1878-1926) was a Finnish poet and journalist, considered one of the important developers of Finnish poetry. His poems combine modern poetry and old Finnish folk poems; the style of many of them is like the style of Kalevala and that of folk songs. The themes often are from nature, love, and despair, but he also wrote poems concerning current political events and ideals.

Eino Leino was born as Armas Einar Leopold Lönnbohm in Paltamo. There were ten children in the family, Eino Leino was the youngest son. His first published poem dates to when he was twelve, the first actual collection of poems Maaliskuun lauluja was published when he was 18. After that, over 70 books of poems and stories where published from him, possibly the most famous of these are the two Helkavirsiä-collections (1903 and 1916), in which he extensively uses Finnish mythology and folklore.

In the beginning of his career. Eino Leino was much loved and praised by the critics. When he advanced, the tide turned, however, and he earned himself many enemies by writing critiques and satires and openly going against the money- and power-hungry members of the elite of that time.

Leino was not lucky in his personal life, which shows also from his poems; he was also involved in some scandals of the time. He was married three times, and had one daughter, Eya, from the first of them.

Leino died 47 years old, but for several years before that he had been depressive and felt like he was old and tired. He had monetary troubles to add to the personal ones, and after the war in 1918, despite the new independence, he had lost his faith in Finns. As throughout his life, also the poems from this time period reflect his feelings of despair.