Tõnis Vilu

Tõnis Vilu

Tõnis Vilu (born 14 May 1988) is a poet.

Vilu was born and attended school at Väike-Maarja. He studied literature and folklore at the University of Tartu; in 2014 he completed the master’s thesis Ökokriitilise analüüsi võimalustest Uku Masingu loodusteksti „Mälestusi taimedest“ näitel (‘On the Ways of Ecocritical Analysis Based on Uku Masing’s Nature Book Memories about Plants’). Vilu works as the prose and managing editor of the young authors’ literary journal Värske Rõhk and is the presenter of Katus (‘Roof’), a programme on mental health at IDA Radio. He is a member of the Estonian Writers’ Union from 2022.

His debut collection Oh seda päikest (‘Oh, the Sun’, 2013) enters into dialogue with Estonian nature poetry and stands out for its sensitivity of language. From his second collection Ilma (‘Without’, 2014) onwards, Vilu has presented his poems in series. Ilma depicts the wandering of a character in a dystopic world which interprets the present-day reality. The fantasy theme is also represented in the collection Igavene kevad (‘Eternal Spring’, 2015), which has also been called a novel in verse. It clearly foregrounds the problem of temporal shifts characteristic of Vilu.

One of the penetrating themes in Tõnis Vilu’s creation is mental health, which is related to his personal experience. The problems of mental health also occupy the central place in the collection Kink psühholoogile (‘A Gift to a Psychologist’, 2016), which received the Gustav Suits Poetry Prize in 2017. The collection has been defined as documentary poetry. The book Tundekasvatus: Jaapani surmaluuletused (‘Sentimental Education: Japanese Poems of Death’, 2020), which received the Literature Endowment Annual Award in 2021, continues the treatment of personal matters adding (sharp) reactions to political trends. An answer is also sought to the question how to be a good person. The collection Kõik linnud valgusele (‘All the Birds for Light’, 2022), which received the Gustav Suits Poetry Prize in 2023, has been inspired by the memory of a friend who committed suicide. Its poetry is rich in transitions and sensitivity to language as characteristic of Vilu.

A. K. (Translated by I. A.)

Books in Estonian
Poetry collections
Oh seda päikest. Tallinn: Värske Rõhk, 2013, 92 lk
Ilma. Tallinn: Tuum, 2014, 59 lk
Igavene kevad. Tallinn: Tuum, 2015, 143 lk
Kink psühholoogile. Tallinn: Eesti Keele Sihtasutus, 2016, 83 lk
Libavere: mõned üksikud luuletused. Tartu: Häämaa, 2018, 67 lk
Tundekasvatus: jaapani surmaluuletused. Tartu: Häämaa, 2020, 93 lk
Kõik linnud valgusele. Loomingu Raamatukogu 10. 2022, 78 lk