Mart Kangur

Poems Mart Kangur


Mart Kangur (b. 4 V 1971) is an Estonian poet, translator and philosopher.

From 1978 to 1989 Kangur attended Nõmme Gymnasium, and from 1991 to 2005 studied languages, literary theory, philosophy and Oriental studies at the Estonian Institute of the Humanities. He obtained a Baccalaureat and a Master’s degree in cultural theory. Kangur has given lectures and seminars at the Estonian Institute of Humanities and the University of Tallinn on aesthetics, Husserl’s, Hume’s, Kant’s and Derrida’s philosophy. He has worked as a freelance translator and editor, published poetry, prose and reviews in the journals Vikerkaar and Looming as well as the newspapers Sirp, Postimees and Müürileht. Since 2016 he has been a member of the Estonian Writers’ Union and its translators’ section.

Mart Kangur entered literature with a prose collection jointly with Ivar Ravi (pseudonym of Eik Hermann) and Jaak Rand, Jaak Rand ja teisi jutte (‘Jaak Rand and Other Stories’, 2005). It contains experimental texts, which often describe writing and literature and refer back to the writing subject or the act of writing, creating paradoxical vicious circles similar to M.C. Escher’s pictures. The work won the Betti Alver Debut Prize.

Although Mart Kangur has subsequently published prose in periodicals, what has come between book-covers are three collections of poetry, which have won him the most recognition as a writer. The first and second of these – Kuldne põli (‘The Golden Age’, 2009) and Kõrgusekartus (‘Fear of Heights’, 2015) both earned him the University of Tallinn literature prize. The Cultural Endowment Annual Award was given to Kangur for his third poetry collection, Liivini lahti (‘Cut Open to Juhan Liiv’, 2017) as well as for his translation into Estonian of Gilles Deleuze and Félix Guattari’s Capitalism and schizophrenia 1. Anti-Oedipus. Kangur’s poem tahaks eesti / liivini lahti võtta [‘I would like to cut Estonia open to reveal its inner Juhan Liiv’] won him the Juhan Liiv Poetry Prize in 2016.

Kangur’s poems are, like his prose, full of word-play and contain abundant intertextual references to literature and philosophy. At the same time his striving for laconic economy of expression is aimed at a deeper recognition of the world, of his fellow man and of himself. In his latest collection, Liivini lahti, there is a markedly sharper political focus.

Kangur has translated Jacques Derrida’s The Gift of Death from French (published in Estonian in 2011), and works by Ernest Hemingway and other authors from English.

S. V. (Translated by C. M.)

Books in Estonian

Kuldne põli. Tallinn: Koma, 2009, 71 lk.
Kõrgusekartus. Tallinn: Kirimiri, 2015, 102 lk.
Liivini lahti. Tallinn: Kirimiri, 2017, 95 lk.

Mart Kangur, Ivar Ravi, Jaak Rand, Jaak Rand ja teisi jutte. Tallinn: Elund ja Partnerid, 2005, 143 lk.