Merja Virolainen has published five collections of poems, Hellyyttäsi taitat gardenian (Because of Your Tenderness You Break a Gardenia, 1990), Tervapeili (Tar Mirror, 1995), Pilvet peittävät sisäänsä pilvet (Clouds Encompass Clouds, 2000), Olen tyttö, ihanaa! (I’m a Girl, Wonderful!, 2003) and Valloittaja (Conqueror, 2012). Her work Kontaktia halutaan (WLTM, 2007) is a collection of short texts, some of which are prose poems, some poetical short stories. She has also written a play called Täyttymyskomedia (Fulfilment Comedy, 1993).
Virolainen is one of the most important poets of her generation in Finland, and her writing has influenced the younger generations remarkably. She has toured, reading her poems in 15 countries. Some of her poems have been translated into 12 languages. She has worked a lot as translator of poetry herself, translating from English, German and Swedish. She has also worked as editor, journalist, essayist and critic as well as teacher of creative writing. At the moment, she is the headmaster and teacher in Critical Academy writing school in Helsinki.