August 5, 2011

Jüri Talvet

Jüri Talvet [Estonia]

Jüri Talvet was born in Pänu, Estonia on December 17, 1945. He received his MA degree from the University of Tartu in English philology in 1972, and went on to take his PhD at Leningrad (St. Petersburg) University in 1981 on Western European Literature.

In 1974 he taught literary history at the University of Tartu, and after receiving his PhD he went on to become the Professor and Chair of Comparative Literature at Tartu. He has also chaired the Estonian Association of Comparative Literature, and is the editor of Interlitteraria, a annual journal of comparative literature.

Talvet has also translated Spanish language works, including by authors Francisco de Quevedo and Gabriel García Márquez, into Estonian.

He has travelled and lectured widely, speaking of Estonian literature in Cuba, Mexico, Nicaragua, Spain, Finland, Norway, Belgium, Poland, Sweden, the US, Canada and the Netherlands.

His first book of poetry, Äratused (Awakenings) appeared in 1981, followed by six books over the years since, including Ambur ja karje, Hinge kulg ja kliima üllatused, Unest, lumest, and, most recently, Silmad peksavad une seinu (Eyes Beat the Walls of Sleep). In 1997 he was awarded highest poetry honor, the Juhan Liiv Prize.

With the American H. L Hix, Talvet has edited and translated a volume of Liiv's poetry in English The Mind Would Bear No Better. A book-length essay by Talvet, A Call for Cultural Symbiosis (Guernica), and two books of poetry have been translated into English. Tavet has had his work translated into several other languages as well.

He and his wife and three children live in Tartu.


Äratused (Tallinn: Eesti Raamat, 1981) Ambur ja karje (Tallinn: Eesti Raamat, 1986) Hinge kulg ja kliima üllatused(Tallinn: Eesti Raamat, 1990) Eesti eleegia ja teisi luuletusi (Tallinn: Kupar, 1997) Kas sul viinamarju ka on? (Tartu: Ilmamaa, 2001) Unest, lumest (Tartu: Ilmamaa, 2005) Silmad peksavad une seinu (Tartu, Ilmamaa, 2008)


Estonian Elegy. Selected Poems, trans. by H. L. Hix (Toronto: Guernica, 2008); Of Snow, Of Soul, trans. by H. L. Hix (Toronto: Guernica, 2010)

For an English-language translation of "Underwater Vilnius," click here:

For a larger selection of Talvet's poetry in English (his home page), click below:

For a video of Talvet reading his poetry in Spanish at the International Poetry Festival in
Medellín, click here:

No comments: