Viljar Kaarna

Viljar Kaarna (real name Viljar Ansko, 17 May 1948 – 20. December 2016) was a doctor, poet and cartoonist.

Viljar Ansko was born in Tartu. He spent his childhood at Kaarepere in Jõgeva County, school years and youth at Sompa industrial settlement, which is part of the town of Kohtla-Järve. From 1970, he lived at Risti in Läänemaa County. From 1970–1993 with intervals, he studied psychology at the University of Tartu and in 1985 graduated from the Faculty of Medicine there.

Ansko started working at the age of 15 at an oil-shale mine in Kohtla-Järve, at first as an unskilled worker, from 1963–1970 as an electrician, locksmith and miner. During the service in the Soviet Army, he worked as a driver in Kaliningrad. During his university studies, he worked as an electrician, guard and medic. From 1973–1979, he was a power engineer at Risti metal products department of Vasar manufacturing company. From 1986–1988, Viljar Ansko worked as a psychiatrist at Taagepera sanatorium, from 1988–2000 as a physician at Tallinn Emergency Hospital, from 1998–2010 as doctor for the poor at Tallinn nursing care hospital and from 2010–2013 as family physician at Padise.

From 1990–1996, Viljar Ansko was the editor of Memento, a newspaper of the Estonians repressed by the Stalinist regime. He founded the Anamnesia publishing company where he compiled, edited and published more than 30 books, mostly poetry collections by Estonians deported to Siberian prison camps during the Soviet rule. He translated Vladimir Vysotsky’s and Lev Konovalov’s poetry from Russian, published articles on cultural history in the press, compiled an overview of the history of emergency aid in Tallinn and catalogues of cartoon exhibitions.

Viljar Ansko was a member of the Estonian Association of Journalists and the Estonian Literary Society.

Under the pseudonym of Viljar Kaarna, Ansko published four poetry collections. In his poetry, he expressed passionate reverence for high culture and ridiculed the cult of money and banality. The themes of his poetry are broad: sketches of nature, eroticism, patriotism, Siberian prison camps and fate of the repressed, power and spirit, poetry as the highest form of art, poems dedicated to renowned cultural figures. Ansko’s poems are mostly in rhymed verse. Sometimes the social satire of his poems resembles Heinrich Heine’s poetry.

Viljar Ansko is the author of Rails Remember… (1999), the memorial near Risti railway station to the people deported to Siberia from West Estonia. He was awarded the Order of the Estonian Red Cross, Class IV in 2002, Citizen’s Day Award in 2004, bronze medal of merits of the Estonian Defence League in 2008 and silver medal of merits of the Estonian Defence League and the Coat of Arms Badge of Risti parish in 2012.

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

Books in Estonian

Tuulelembest, luuletõmbest: mõtteiilinguid luulest. Tallinn: Anamnesia, 1995. 63 lk.
Meeletuse meelas maitse. Tallinn: Anamnesia, 1998. 46 lk.
Aateaabicatõed: Isamaa ja ma Ise. Risti: Anamnesia, 2000. 136 lk.
Kahe vahel: sahtlisse salatud salmid. Tallinn: Huma, 2008. 96 lk.
Raha tüürib…. Tallinn: Vebelex, 2016. 29 lk. [Karikatuurid Eduard Tüür, luuletused Viljar Kaarna.]

Viljar Ansko, Hippocratitis dolorosa. Risti: Anamnesia, 2008. 64 lk.