Kalle Kurg

Poems Kalle Kurg


Kalle Kurg (pseudonyms Krisostomus Silvester, Karl Kelgu, K. Uustalu and others, born 25 May 1942) is a writer, critic, translator and editor.

Kurg was born in Tartu. He completed secondary school in Pärnu in 1961 and graduated from Tartu State University in 1966 as an Estonian philologist. Kurg made his debut during his school years in 1958, contributing to the local newspaper. In 1960, he was elected chairman of Tartu Young Authors’ Association and, in 1970, of the Tallinn Young Authors’ Section of the Estonian Writers’ Union. After graduating from the university, Kurg worked as art editor of the magazine Eesti Loodus in 1967–1969 and senior editor of art broadcasts on Estonian Television in 1969–1971. In 1971, Kalle Kurg joined the editorial office of the journal Looming where he was head of the department of essays and articles, in 1975 deputy chief editor. In 1976, the board of the Estonian Writers’ Union elected Kalle Kurg to the post of chief editor of Looming, and he worked in this position until January 1988. In 1992, Kurg founded the short-lived cultural magazine Sina ja Mina. Kurg has been director of the Ilo publishing company and chief editor of the Kunst publishing company. He was a member of the Communist Party of the Soviet Union from 1972–1989 and has been a member of the Estonian Writers’ Union from 1975.

During the years, Kalle Kurg has published many poems, lyrical miniatures, short stories, satires, etc. The collection Pimeduse värvid (‘Colours of Darkness’, 1999) contains poetry and theatrical texts from 1960–1990. The tone is set by autobiographic motifs, tragic and ironical view on the Soviet time, hopes for liberty at the time of the Singing Revolution but also love poetry, the theme of human closeness and existential problems. Kurg has written numerous short stories, which have been read on the radio. In 2000–2005, Kurg had his own broadcast series on Klassikaraadio where he read two new short stories on present-day themes written specially for the programme each month during five and three quarters of years.  

For literary criticism, Kalle Kurg received the prize of the criticism competition of the newspaper Edasi (1965), the annual award of the newspaper Sirp ja Vasar (1974 and 1980) and the annual award of the USSR Writers’ Union (1978). Along with literary criticism, Kurg has also written theatre criticism. He has also written plays. His play Liigvesi (‘Flood Water’) is based on A. H. Tammsaare’s motifs.

Kurg has translated fiction and philosophical literature mainly from Finnish, French, German and English. His translations of poetry began to appear in the 1970s.

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

Books in Estonian

Poetry, Plays
Pimeduse värvid: 1960–1990. Tallinn: Virgela, 1999. 252 lk.