Heikki Huotari

Scaffold & Mirage

Heikki Huotari’s Scaffold & Mirage, a collection of imagistic and philosophical prose poems, is part of our 2024 in-house chapbook series.

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The real power of poetry in all of its forms is its ability to transform us, to transport and confound, to stun and to enlighten us. From its vantage point of God, or space, or our own central intelligence, Heikki Huotari’s new collection of prose poems, Scaffold & Mirage, does all of that, and more. These poems splay the entirety of human experience out for us, from fairy tales to history to theology to sport to physics and beyond. With a cast of characters as diverse as the universe itself - Walt Whitman, Theseus, Brahms, Frank Lloyd Wright, Lawrence Welk - Huotari’s poems take us on one hell of a ride from the edge of the galaxy to the focal point of Descartes' vision of self. Trust me, you’ll want a ticket to climb on this one.

Dr. Jack B. Bedell, Ghost Forest, Against the Woods' Dark Trunks, Poet Laureate of Louisiana, 2017 - 2019

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Like a cabinet of curiosities, each of Heikki Huotari’s poems contains an arrangement to surprise and delight. With an ear for sound and an eye for multiple facets, Huotari links mathematical, literary, and cultural ideas, turning recognizable phrases on their heads, creating gem-like puzzles and nesting dolls of humor and wonder.

Alisa Golden, Editor, Star 82 Review

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The “linguistic edifices” of Heikki Huotari’s Scaffold & Mirage are chiseled wonders of verbal and conceptual play. Offering droll and probing reflections on the scientific and spiritual essence of existence, these aphoristic tours-de-force expose the cultural and personal scaffolding bolstering the mirage of rationality not quite managing to obscure mortality’s absurdity. Huotari’s erudite mashups of quantitative analysis, contemporary and 20th Century colloquialisms, and theological, scientific, and philosophical thought not only “master slapstick” like Groucho Marx but “cite essential singularities” like Stephen Hawking, recasting the iconic Zen master as camp counselor encouraging us: “if you have existential angst and know it clap one hand.” These funhouse-mirrored worlds where “potential energy is yet another mouth to feed” require us to “pledge allegiance to exigencies” - confident that Huotari’s acrobatic wordplay will deftly square circles with a flourish, seamlessly “changing entropy to empathy.”

Susan Lewis, Zoom, Editor-in-Chief of Posit Journal

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Heikki Huotari hears beautifully, artfully, insightfully, producing revealing, laugh-out-loud intellectual poetry. Scaffold and Mirage affords a welcome assemblage of confident, intriguing poetry replete with philosophical surprise. The poet’s keenness of mind and mathematical knowledge and facility of language are everywhere. The reader is drawn to navigating sprightly syllables that derive from vocabularies of history that spawn speculation and shift expectation as to where the lingo goes. “The facial recognition software mistakes democrats for acrobats”; “The plural of fish is all-y’all. BlΓ©ssed are the nihilists for they’ll be teddy bears.” Huotari consistently leads us to a myriad of new virtual places. Traveling this road is irresistible.

Sheila E. Murphy, Gertrude Stein Award Winner

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About the Author

Heikki Huotari attended a one-room school and spent summers on a forest fire lookout tower. Since retiring from academia, he has published poetry with numerous journals and in five collections. His work has won one book and two chapbook awards. His ErdΕ‘s number is two.

He has previouly published poetry with us in Issue 4, January 2022 and Issue 15, December 2022.

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