Jaak Kõdar

Jaak Kõdar

Jaak Kõdar (7. VII 1940 – 22. III 2023) was a poet and playwright. Having studied technology, he felt a need to engage with the verbal arts. He became known as a writer in his senior years. He also earned recognition as a children’s writer.

Jaak Kõdar was born in Viljandi. His father fled from Estonia to Sweden during the Second World War. His remaining family set off from Mulgimaa to the coast of Läänemaa in the last days of the German occupation, awaiting the opportunity to rejoin their father, which did not come. Kõdar spent his first four years at Nava farm, which belonged to his grandparents, in the village of Lilli in Mulgimaa, close to the Latvian border. Only after Estonia regained its independence did he have the opportunity to buy back the family farm. After acquiring a basic education, Kõdar went to study at the Tallinn School of Mines. His choice was based on the availability of a favourable stipend, and the fact that the Tallinn School of Mines was an All-Union school, where the students’ family background was not considered important.

While living in Kiviõli, Jaak Kõdar began studying at the Tallinn University of Technology and trained to be a mechanical engineer. Kõdar’s career choices were mainly driven by economic considerations.

For two years he edited the newspaper of the Tallinn University of Technology. After graduating he worked in a factory as a senior foreman, and soon he was invited to work for Estonian Television as a correspondent. Kõdar also worked in Tallinn at the co-operative scientific enterprise Desintegraator, which was economically very successful. The management of Desintegraator was reported to the KGB for insubordination, accused of corruption. Kõdar spent the years 1984 to 1987 in Rummu and Murru prisons. Being in prison triggered his literary gifts. At the end of his term he was rehabilitated. Kõdar met his father, who had moved to Sweden, only in middle age. Kõdar has said that if he had been able to acquire an education in free conditions, he would have studied philosophy.

Jaak Kõdar wrote poems in both standard Estonian and Mulgi dialect. He published three collections of poetry and eight children’s books. He also published a memoir of his father, Kaks elu (‘Two Lives’).

Kõdar’s plays have been performed since 2006 in the open-air space at Nava farm, which belonged to Kõdar. The subjects of his plays are connected with ancient farming families, his own home region and local history, the characters being people from real life. Examples of such plays are Kolm risti (‘Three Crosses’), Muinassaar (‘Fairytale Island’), Jukra and Kõik läheb mööda (‘Everything passes’).

In 2017 Jaak Kõdar was awarded the title ‘Pride of Mulgimaa’.

L. P. (Translated by C. M.)


Books in Estonian

Vaikuse värvid. Tallinn: Steamark, 2005, 47 lk.
Taevased tuuled. Tallinn: Steamark, 2007, 81 lk.
Poolel teel mõttetusse. Tallinn: Steamark, 2009, 95 lk.
Madallend üle maakera. Tallinn: Steamark, 2010, 80 lk.
Linnutee lõpus on karjatee algus. Tallinn: Steamark, 2011, 74 lk.
Ütlemata ütlused. 1980-1990. Tallinn: Steamark, 2011, 46 lk. [Aforismid.]
Homme on minevik. Tallinn: Steamark, 2012, 77 lk.
Armas maakera. Tallinn: Steamark, 2013, 77 lk.
Täna ma ei luuletanud. Tallinn: Steamark, 2014, 78 lk.
Ma ellerheina heinamaal jään igavesti leinama. Koostanud Andrus Simsel. Tallinn: Steamark, 2017, 78 lk.

Poems for children
Väiksed naerumasinad. Tallinn: Steamark, 2005, 46 lk.
Mede ilves. Tallinn: Steamark; Mulgi Kultuuri Instituut, 2007, 16 lk.
Aeg veereb aastaiks. Lapse kalendrisalmik. Tallinn: Steamark, 2010, 30 lk.
Kirev kompass = Kirevene kompass. Mulgi keel: Alli Laande. Tallinn: Steamark; Abja-Paluoja: Mulgi Kultuuri Instituut, 2013, 17 lk.
Väiksed naerusasijad. Salme kogu perele. Tallinn: Steamark, 2014, 79 lk.

Stories for children
Kriimureinulised lood. 1. Valitud vembud ja karistatud tembud. Tallinn: Steamark, 2006, 32 lk.
Kriimureinulised lood. II. Võitlus Isahanega. Tallinn: Steamark, 2006, 31 lk.
Kriimureinulised lood. III. Argonaudid. Tallinn: Steamark, 2007, 62 lk.
Kriimureinulised reisid. Tallinn: Steamark, 2008, 87 lk.
Rebaseraamat. Isa jutud Martinile. Tallinn: Steamark, 2008, 78 lk.
Kriimureinulised vembud. Esimene raamat. Tallinn: Steamark, 2009, 79 lk.
Kriimu ja Reinu viimased vembud. Tallinn: Steamark, 2010, 103 lk.
Kriimu-Reinu lõpuraamat, ehk, Tont kont lont. Tallinn: Steamark, 2010, 28 lk.
Jää, lume ja jäätise raamat. Tallinn: Steamark, 2011, 29 lk.
Pupsik. Laste mõtlemise ja male raamat. Tallinn: Steamark, 2015, 79 lk.

Kolm risti. Talunäitemäng kolmes vaatuses. Tallinn: Steamark, 2006, 31 lk.
Muinassaar. Talunäitemäng kolmes vaatuses proloogi ja epiloogiga. Tallinn: Steamark, 2007, 48 lk.
Jukra. Talunäitemäng kolmes vaatuses proloogiga. Tallinn: Steamark, 2008, 61 lk.

Nava Lava. Tänuraamat. Tallinn: Steamark, 2019, 127 lk.