Suomen kansan vanhat runot

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Suomen kansan vanhat runot ('the ancient poems of the Finnish people'), or SKVR, is a 34-part work, wherein is published the majority of the original sources of Kalevala-type poetry: around 100,000 different poems. Now digitised, the collection is available online free-access.


The original 33 volumes were published from 1908–1948 by the Finnish Literature Society. A supplement, containing among other things some of the field notes of Cristfried Ganander and Elias Lönnrot, was added in 1997. The supplement contains poems on highly sexual subjects, such as spells to obtain a sexual partner or to improve sexual performance, which had previously been considered unsuitable for publication.[1] Most of the poems in the collection come from the archives of the Finnish Literature Society, but many come from elsewhere, including archives in other countries.

SKVR does not include all recorded Finnish oral folklore, just the majority of Kalevala-poetry. It is also rich in preserved prose stories, and poetic forms other than those complying with Kalevala meter. Similar Estonian folk poetry is also not included.

SKVR's poems are catalogued according to geographical regions, and within regions, they are divided into four main categories:

  • lyric poetry
  • epic
  • other genres depending on the region (such as wedding songs and lullabies)
  • spells

Sections are divided into several subgroups.


A selection of poems are presented in normalised Finnish and in English translation in Finnish Folk Poetry: Epic. An Anthology in Finnish and English, ed. and trans. by Matti Kuusi, Keith Bosley and Michael Branch, Suomalaisen Kirjallisuuden Seuran toimituksia, 329 (Helsinki: Finnish Literature Society, 1977).


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