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Jaan Kaplinski: Selected Poems

Jaan Kaplinski: Selected Poems

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Estonia’s Jaan Kaplinski is one of Europe’s major poets, and one of his country’s best-known writers and cultural figures. This selection includes work previously unpublished in English as well as poems drawn from all four of his previous UK collections: The Same Sea in Us All, The Wandering Border, Through the Forest and Evening Brings Everything Back.

Translated by Jaan Kaplinski with Sam Hamill, Hildi Hawkins, Fiona Sampson and Riina Tamm.

"There is beauty as well as dangers... His work is not hermetic, does not generally deal in fables or go in disguise. His attention is almost wholly directed at the natural world and the self's place in it."
Sean O'Brien, The Guardian

"He is re-thinking Europe, revisioning history, in these poems of our times. Elegant, musing, relentless, inward, fresh. Poems of gentle politics and love that sometimes scare you."
Gary Snyder

"Hell and heaven are exhilaratingly interfused in these poems, and the poet’s scale is his own littleness in ‘this huge blind wind’. His poems loom and soar, veering from lines of one word to sweeping bravura meditations, and achieve a great beauty."
Adam Thorpe, The Observer

Jaan Kaplinski was born in Tartu in 1941, shortly after the Soviet occupation of Estonia. His mother was Estonian, and his Polish father died in a labour camp in northern Russia when Jaan was still a child. “My childhood,” he has said, “passed in Tartu, a war-devastated university town. It was a time of repression, fear, hypocrisy and poverty.” Nominated for the Nobel Prize in Literature, he has lectured on the History of Western Civilisation at Tartu University and has been a student of Mahayana Buddhism and philosophies of the Far East. He was a member of the new post-Revolution Estonian parliament in 1992-95, and his essays on cultural transition and the challenges of globalisation are published all across the Baltic region.