Kristjan Haljak



Kristjan Haljak (born 3 October 1990) is a poet and translator.

In 2009, he graduated from Tallinn French Lyceum and from 2009–2015 studied Romance languages at Tallinn University. In 2013–2014, he studied present-day literature within the Erasmus student exchange programme at Aix-Marseille University in France. He taught French language and literature at Tallinn Secondary School No. 32 in 2011–2012, at Tallinn French Lyceum in 2012–2016, and at Tallinn English College in 2017–2019. He is a member of the Estonian Writers’ Union from 2017.

Kristjan Haljak’s first poetry collection Palavik (‘Fever’) appeared in the book series of the journal Värske Rõhk. The collection was immediately associated with Surrealism; the book was also found to be fluctuating between two poles, one of which is the wish to tell a story (about an event or situation), the other – to play with sounds and free associations.

In 2017, he published the books Conceptio Immaculata and Uus inimene (‘The New Human’), which the critics again associated with avant-garde literature and late 19th century decadence.

The poetry collection Verlaine’i revolver (‘Verlaine’s Revolver’, 2018) begins with the description of Charles Baudelaire’s dream which Haljak has modified, creating a mystification. The book contains many unrhymed sonnets about which the critic Rebekka Lotman has said that Haljak “demonstrates the prospects of the sonnet and poetry like no one has done in Estonian literature before.”

In his creation, Haljak boldly flirts with the decadent attitude to life and Surrealist methods and techniques. The characteristic features of his texts are frantic fervour and idiosyncratic suggestive rhythm.

Kristjan Haljak has translated Charles Baudelaire’s, André Breton’s and Jean-Christophe Grangé’s works from French and Charles Bukowski’s books from English.

In 2018, he received the Tallinn University Literary Award and the scholarship of the Siuru Foundation.

L. P. (Translated by I. A.)

Books in Estonian

Palavik. Tartu: Värske Rõhk, 2014, 59 lk.
Conceptio immaculata: uuemate luuletuste kogu, mis kõrgestiaustatud Kristjan Haljak 2016. Issanda aastal kõigi muusade armastuse läbi on kirja pannud ning nüüd meie armuliku lugeja lauale on jõudnud. Tallinn: Vihmakass ja Kakerdaja, 2017, 62 lk.
Uus inimene. Tallinn: Tuum, 2017, 111 lk.
Verlaine’i revolver. Tallinn: Tuum, 2018, 91 lk.
Illuminatsioonid: luuletused 1974–1990. Tallinn: Tuum, 2020, 97 lk.
Warszawa Centralna. Tartu: Kaksikhammas, 2021, 63 lk.