Toomas Liiv

Poems Toomas Liiv

About Toomas Liiv

Toomas Liiv (30. XII 1946 – 20. XII 2009) was a poet, literary scholar and a lecturer. In his writing, he tried modifying and blurring the traditional lines between prose and poetry.

He was born in Tallinn and after finishing high school, studied Estonian philology at the University of Tartu. As a literary scholar, his main area of interest was Estonian short prose. He defended his PhD in 1982 with the thesis Eesti novell aastail 1917-1930 (‘Estonian Short Story during 1917-1930’). From 1997, he was a professor of Estonian literature in Tallinn University.

Toomas Liiv entered the Estonian literary scene in 1965 with a prose piece Jõe ääres (‘By the River’). As a poet, his poem cycle Kase põlemine (‘Burning of the Birch’) in the collection Närvitrükk (‘Nerve Print’, 1971) gained recognition, along with Joel Sang, Juhan Viiding and Johnny B Isotamm, which marked the poetry innovation of the new decade. Liiv mostly used free verse, at the same time playing with the visual placing of verse and stanzas. His poetry is often parodying, especially of classical forms and styles, and contains (self-) irony. He was one of the first Estonian poets who questioned the point of traditional treatment of literature, thus questioning the current boundaries in writing itself and between genres.

A. Mv. (Translated by A. S.)

Books in Estonian

Kurbus vikerkaarest. Tallinn: Eesti Raamat, 1971, 63 lk.
Fragment. Tallinn: Eesti Raamat, 1981, 60 lk.
Achtung. Tallinn: Perioodika, 2000, 72 lk.
Luuletused 1966-2002. Tallinn: Tuum, 2003, 238 lk.

Essays and articles
Proosast. Tallinn: Virgela, 1997, 237 lk.
Tekst teeb oma töö. Tallinn: Eesti Keele Sihtasutus, 2012, 479 lk.

Radio plays
Kuuldemäng mesilastest. Tallinn: E. Lindsalu, 2018, 22 lk.