Jaan Kaplinski was born in 1941 in the old university town of Tartu (Dorpat) in Estonia where he grew up and later studied Linguistics. His ancestors include Estonians, Poles, Tartars, Jews and Greeks. Three translations of his earlier poetry books were published in Britain by Harvill. He has written around 800 poems as well as short stories and many essays and articles. He has a large family and lives in an old farmhouse near Tartu.