The Witch on a Vespa (and the Case of the Kinetic Potatoes): Nonsense Strategies and Translation of Kirsi Kunnas's Poem "Mr Pii Poo"

Forskningsoutput: TidskriftsbidragArtikelVetenskapligPeer review


It has been suggested that in nonsense literature the form sometimes directs the events of the story (Tigges 1988, Lecercle 1994). Translation of a poem may make this even more evident, as with "Mr Pii Poo" (1956, originally “Herra Pii Poo”), a poem by the Finnish author Kirsi Kunnas, born in 1924. "Mr Pii Poo" tells a story of a magician in a conflict between rural and urban elements, a figure who is introduced also as a witch and who could at the same time be interpreted as an alter ego for the poet Kunnas. In this poem, Kirsi Kunnas binds a bizarre bundle of rhymed and free verses around the Finnish word noita (a witch) and its multiple uses as a noun, a pronoun and a case ending. Sirke Happonen discusses nonsense elements of this witty and whimsical poem by describing its translation process from Finnish into English – a piece of work she has done with the help of her nonsensical colleagues. As a collocation, Happonen presents a "movable reading" of another poem by Kunnas called “Kattila ja perunat”, "The Pan and the Potatoes".
Keywords: nonsense verse, translation, performance.
TidskriftEuropean Journal of Humour Research
Sidor (från-till)82-91
Antal sidor10
StatusPublicerad - dec 2017
MoE-publikationstypA1 Tidskriftsartikel-refererad


  • 6122 Litteraturforskning
  • 516 Pedagogik

Citera det här