The Sampo

The Sampo

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Author: Peter O'Leary

Publisher: The Cultural Society (2016)

Smyth-sewn paperback.

The Sampo is an object of great power, a talisman of deep earth and high art, forged by the smith Ilmarinen for the wizard Väinämöinen. But Louhi, the witch of the north, has locked it in the heart of a mountain, in dreary Sariola, land of always dawning gloom. Väinämöinen and his band of heroes must steal back their treasure and escape south, with an enraged Louhi in their wake . . .

Drawing episodes from the Kalevala, a Finnish epic, Peter O’Leary has created a poem of atmospheric intensity, full of elemental forces harnessed by supernatural craft. Line by line, it is composed of images and epithets that flicker into animation, condensed phrases that cascade into sequences of unfolding action. Throughout the quest, The Sampo returns us to the hazards of making, the power of singing, and the adventure of poetry.