Pentti Saarikoski was a controversial poet and a translator, who was also known as a bohemian and a heavy drinker. He spent the last eight years of his life in Sweden and died during a trip to Finland. He is buried on the graveyard of the Orthodox monastery of New Valamo in Heinävesi in Eastern Finland.
Saarikoski’s translations include Homer’s Odyssey and James Joyce’s Ulysses. Many of his poems were inspired by rebellious figures and themes from classical literature, which he combined with contemporary observations and situations.
Pentti Saarikoski was awarded the Finnish State Prize for Literature in 1963, 1966, 1970, 1973, 1981 and 1983. His translations won several awards.