YOU GIVE ME THE GREATEST POET

by Jüri Talvet

For Vanesa

You give me the greatest poet
of your country, Prešeren – in English.

I give you the greatest poet
of my country, Liiv – in English.

The world would never understand
their greatness anyway. It is enough,

if you believe in it and I believe in it
at this moment amid history’s wind and dust,

in the quiet shadow of lindens’ leaves and poplars’,
in Lipica, amid their friendly whispers.

(Trans. H. L. Hix)

From: 
Isegi vihmal on hing (Tartu: Tartu Ülikooli Kirjastus, 2010)


Jüri Talvet's picture

ABOUT THE POET ~
Poet, essayist, translator and university professor Jüri Talvet was born in Pärnu, Estonia, in 1945. He graduated from the faculty of philology from the University of Tartu. He received his PhD degree in Western literatures from Leningrad / Saint Petersburg University (1981). Since 1992 he is Chairing Professor (of world literature) at Tartu University. He made his debut with a book of poems, Äratused (Awakenings, Tallinn: Eesti Raamat, 1981). Besides eight books of poetry, he has published six essay books in his native Estonian, as well as numerous translations (mainly from Spanish). In 2008 he edited a major anthology of American poetry in Estonian translation. He has been awarded Juhan Smuul Annual Prize of Literature (in essay, 1986), Juhan Liiv Poetry Prize (1997) and Ivar Ivask Memorial Prize of Essay and Poetry (2002). Selections of his poetry have appeared in translation in Spain (Elegía estonia y otros poemas, 2002; Del sueño, de la nieve, 2010), Canada (Estonian Elegy. Selected Poems, 2008; Of Snow, of Soul, 2010), France (De la neige, des rêves, 2011) and Romania (De din somn, de din zăpadă, 2011). Also, his essays have been translated into English, Spanish and Catalan.


Last updated September 19, 2011