Knuts Skujenieks 




Knuts Skujenieks 

Foto © Nėrijus Jankauskas
* 05.09.1936, Riga, Letonia
Vive en: Salaspils, Letonia

Poet, translator and literary critic Knuts Skujenieks was born in Riga in 1936. He studied Latvian at the University of Latvia and concluded his studies at the Maxim Gorky Literary Institute in Moscow in 1961. While still a young poet, in 1962 Skujenieks was arrested, accused of “anti-Soviet propaganda” and sentenced to seven years in a forced labour camp in Mordovia. During his imprisonment Skujenieks continued to write poetry (where he wrote some 1000 poems), which could not be published after his release. Despite Skujenieks’ steady and distinctive mark on the poetic process, his first book was published when he had already reached the age of 42, quite uncharacteristic for a Latvian poet’s debut.

 Foto © Nėrijus Jankauskas
After his release from the forced labour camp, Skujenieks returned to Latvia and focused on translating poetry, becoming a polyglot and one of the most respected experts in a variety of poetical traditions. He translates from Ukrainian, Slovene, Spanish, Serbian, Macedonian, Greek, Polish, Lithuanian, Finnish, Swedish, Danish as well as from Czech and a number of other languages. His translations include works by Federico García Lorca, Gabriela Mistral, Janis Ricos, Tomas Tranströmer, Inger Christensen and others, as well as the folk songs of many European nations. The year 2001 saw the publication of the unique book ‘Dziesma, ej viegli pa manu sirdi’ (Oh Song, Tread Lightly in My Heart), in which Skujenieks presents a selection of 20th century poetry from 72 European languages in both the original versions and his translations.

Since 2002 his entire body of poetry is being published as part of his Collected Works. Skujenieks is the recipient of a number of Latvian, Lithuanian, Ukrainian, Swedish and Spanish literary and national awards, and for many years has been the chairman of the Latvian PEN. Skujenieks is a laureate of the Cross of Recognition, Second Class (2008), a Latvian medal of honour. In 2008, he was awarded the Baltic Assembly Prize for Literature (2008) for his Writings, the collected works in eight volumes. 

  • Lirika un balsis


    Riga: Liesma Publ., 1978

  • Iesien baltā lakatiņā


    Riga: Liesma Publ., 1986

  • Sēkla sniegā


    Riga: Liesma Publ., 1990

  • Mūsu dzīve nokalpotā


    Rīga: Nordik, 2007

  • Kopoti raksti

    Raksti 8 sējumos

    [Collected Works]

    Riga: Nordik, 2003-2008

  • 1998 The Tomas Tranströmer Prize

  • 2008 Cross of Recognition (Latvian: Atzinības krusts), Second Class

  • 2008 Baltic Assembly Prize for Literature