Maila Pylkkönen grew up in Helsinki as the child of a factory worker. She passed the upper secondary school leaving examination in 1951 and studied psychology and ethnology at the University of Helsinki. She married in 1971 and had two children.
Maila Pylkkönen made her debut in 1957 with the poetry collection Klassilliset tunteet and developed her own form of poetry based on the spoken work, a series of monological role poems in which she describes daily domestic life. She draws on the experience of women, children, the elderly, and the mentally deranged. Her poems show an original oppositional aesthetic. Using every day issues, she discusses the poetic nature of the written word. Autobiography, anecdotes, fragments of something read or heard, food recipes – she transforms everything into poetry.
Her most important works are Arvo. Vanhaäiti puhuu runonsa (P), 1959, ilmaa-kaikuu (P), 1960, and Valta (P), 1962.