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Writing from the Edge: Estonian Literature

October 2015

Aldis Toome, Matsiranna Loss, 2009. "The Poll Diaries," Dir. Chris Kraus, 2010., Matsiranna, Estonia.

Image: Aldis Toome, Matsiranna Loss, 2009. “The Poll Diaries,” Dir. Chris Kraus, 2010., Matsiranna, Estonia.

This month we present new prose and poetry from Estonia. Influenced by its many colonizers and drawing on a rich oral tradition, Estonia’s literary sensibility reflects both an awareness of the natural world and a keen sense of what might lie beyond its borders. The writers here deploy that dual perspective to singular effect. Eeva Park’s narrator attempts to rescue a dog and her marriage. Mehis Heinsaar observes a summer romance turned icy. In two portraits of intellectual pretension, Mihkel Mutt records the meeting of two literary poseurs, and Maarja Kangro eavesdrops on artists and writers at a bourgeois cultural evening. Russian-language writer Andrei Ivanov contributes an impressionistic portrait of coming of age in Soviet-era Tallinn. Jan Kaus’s prose poetry illuminates both urban and rural landscapes. And in work from other poets, fs recruits for a divine vacancy, Kaur Riismaa praises the quotidian, and Triin Soomets reflects on translating love and loss. We thank our guest editor, Miriam McIlfatrick, and the Estonian Literature Center for its support.