Kaarlo Uskela

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Kaarlo Uskela
Kaarlo Uskela.jpg
Born (1878-03-04)4 March 1878
Tampere, Grand Duchy of Finland
Died 19 April 1922(1922-04-19) (aged 44)
Helsinki, Finland
Nationality Finland
Occupation poet, writer, typesetter
Years active 1908–1922

Kaarlo Uskela, born 4 March 1878 in Tampere, died 19 April 1922 in Helsinki,[1] was a Finnish satiric author, poet and anarchist. Uskela is best known of his 1921 anthology Pillastunut runohepo which was banned in 1933, eleven years after Uskela's death.

Uskela was born into a working-class family in Tampere and worked as a typesetter for several newspapers. From 1900 to 1907 Uskela lived in Sweden where he became interested in anarchism. After returning to Finland, Uskela earned his living as a writer. He wrote columns, short stories and causeries for left-wing newspapers and magazines. Uskela was known as a satirical writer, he was making fun of almost everything, the government, church and bourgeoisie and even the labor movement itself.[2]

After the 1918 Finnish Civil War Uskela was sent to the notorious Tammisaari prison camp for several months, although he was not a member of the Red Guards and did not take part on the war. During his imprisonment, Uskela wrote a collection of poems which were released in his 1921 anthology Pillastunut runohepo. Uskela's last literal work was the posthumous Vainovuosilta (1923), a non-satirical anthology of short stories about Finnish Civil War. Uskela died of sepsis at the age of 44. He had a dental caries, but Uskela refused to see the dentist and treated it by himself. The result was a fatal sepsis.[2]

In 1933, during the right-wing period in Finnish politics, the unsold copies of Uskela's anthology Pillastunut runohepo were confiscated and burned by a court order. It is the only book Finnish authorities have ever destroyed. Uskela's poetry was accused of atheist views and anti-church elements, but they were also described as ″revolutionary and violent″.[2] This was not the first time his works were banned, before the Independence of Finland in 1918 almost all of Uskela's books were confiscated by the Russian authorities.[3]

Selected works[edit]

  • Yhteiskunnan varkaat (″Thieves of Society″, 1908)
  • Villiomenoita (″Wild Apples″, 1912)
  • Humoreskeja ja runoja (″Humoresque and Poetry″, 1913)
  • Pillastunut runohepo (″Poem Horse Gone Wild″, 1921)
  • Vainovuosilta (″From the Years of Persecution″, 1923)


  1. ^ Uskela, Kaarlo Finnish Literature Society. Retrieved 21 September 2015.
  2. ^ a b c ″Kaarlo Uskela: Vainovuosilta″ (in Finnish). Jurin tekstit. 24 September 2009. Retrieved 21 February 2015.
  3. ^ Kielletyt kirjat - 3. Kotimainen kirjasensuuri (in Finnish). Freedom of Speech and Censorship in Finland. Retrieved 21 February 2015.