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The Shape of Time

The Shape of Time

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The Shape of Time is Doris Kareva’s eleventh collection and, as with all her books, its publication was hailed as a major literary event in Estonia.

In style, it is more restrained than her earlier collections but its themes are the same – love and its great enemies, death and time – and the poems still retain the romantic bravado and recklessness that make her work so compelling.

"This minutely sculpted, effortlessly elegant, and endlessly expansive collection is further evidence of an important poet at the height of her powers."

"It is a work of pure lyricism that in a sense seems almost wholly rooted in personal feeling and experience. Some poems seem to have arisen almost immediately from specific occasions, if only through their flaring intensity; others to be a coming to terms with experience after time has passed... Many of the poems grow out of different kinds of pain such as the thwarting or loss of love, the attrition of time, or the anguish of an existence that seems meaningless, but the overall impact is exhilarating. Sometimes this is simply because the swiftness, energy and beauty of the poems themselves seem to reflect a resilience and generosity of spirit, a kind of implicit reaching out to embrace whatever life offers."
Edmund Prestwich

"This is difficult, engaged writing, about the ambiguities and uncertainties of the journey through time; adventurous in both theme and treatment, it will not please every reader. But it will certainly challenge."

Doris Kareva is arguably Estonia’s leading female poet. Born in Tallinn in 1958, she studied English Language and Literature at Tartu University and worked in the cultural weekly Sirp from 1978 to 1993 and from 1997 to 2002. From 1992 onwards, she has been the Secretary General of the Estonian National Commission for UNESCO in Estonia. She has published one book of essays and 14 collections of poetry which have been translated into over 20 languages.