Imants Ziedonis (1933 – 2013 was a Latvian poet who first rose to fame during the Soviet occupation of Latvia. Ziedonis graduated from the University of Latvia with a degree in philology in 1959 and went on to study in Moscow. As a young man, Ziedonis worked in a wide variety of jobs – he worked as a librarian, road construction worker, teacher and literary editor. Ziedoni's first significant collection of poetry Zemes un sapņu smilts/ Sand of Earth and Dreams was published in 1961, and the following three collections Sirds dinamīts/Heart's Dynamite, Motocikls/Motorcycle, and Es ieeju sevī/I Enter Myself sky-rocketed him to fame almost unprecedented in Latvian poetry scene. However, he was actively writing prose as well, and during 1970s Ziedonis became deeply interested in Latvian folk culture which later informed his writing and what later became to be known as Ziedonis' Epiphanies (Epiphanies, 1971, 1974, 1994). He also collected and wrote folk tales and stories for children, these included Krāsainās pasakas/Colored Tales, Lāču pasaka/ The Tale of Bears and Blēņas un pasakas/Twaddle and Tales. As one of the most open voices in poetry during the Soviet occupation era, he repeatedly risked appearing as a dissident to the Soviet leaders, however managed to maintain a balance despite his often controversial essays and creative work. Ziedonis was a prominent member of Atmoda, the re-awakening movement in Latvia, he was elected to the Supreme Council of the Republic of Latvia in 1990 and was one of the Supreme Council members who voted for the Declaration on the Restoration of Independence of Latvia. Ziedonis was awarded the Three Star Order in 1995 and the Cabinet of Ministers' Award for Lifetime Achievement in 2002, and has received several international literary prizes and awards, his works have been translated into Lithuanian, English, German, Swedish, Ukrainian, and other languages. Ziedonis has translated works by A.Pushkin, Alexander Alexandrovich Blok, Mayakovsky, Bagritsky, Lugovskoy, et al.
Vēl ko [One more thing]. Riga: Mansards, 2010.
Trioletas [Triolets]. Riga: Pētergailis, 2003.
Ceļa sentiments [Road Sentimentality]. Riga: Nordik, 2000.
Mirkļi. Foreles [Moments. Trouts]. Riga: Teātra Anekdotes, 1993.
Viegli [Lightly]. Riga: Preses nams, 1993.
Taureņu uzbrukums [Butterfly Attack]. Riga: Liesma, 1988.
Viddivvārpa. With L. Damianu, in the collection Maize/Bread. Riga: Liesma, 1982.
Thoughtfully I Read the Smoke: Selected Poems. In Russian and English, Moscow: Progress Publishers, 1980.
Re, kā [Look]. Riga: Liesma, 1981.
Man labvēlīgā tumsā [In the Darkness Kind to Me ]. Riga: Liesma, 1979.
Poēma par pienu [A Poem about Milk]. Riga: Liesma, 1977.
Caurvējš [Draught]. Riga: Liesma, 1975.
Kā svece deg [Like a Candle Burning]. Riga: Liesma, 1971.
Es ieeju sevī [I Enter Myself]. Riga: Liesma, 1968.
Motocikls [Motorcycle]. Riga: Liesma, 1965.
Sirds dinamīts [Heart's Dynamite]. Riga: LVI, 1963.
Zemes un sapņu smilts [Sand of Earth and Dreams]. Riga: LVI, 1961.
Selected Epiphanies. Riga: Zvaigzne ABC, 2009.
Epiphanies + CD, Riga:Tigula mūzika, Moonlight sound design, 2008.
Epiphanies. Book 3. Riga: Preses nams, 1994.
Epiphanies. Books 1 and 2. Riga: Liesma, 1978.
Epiphanies. Book 2. Riga: Liesma, 1974.
Epifānijas . Book 1. Riga: Liesma, 1971.
Pasakas [Tales]. Riga: Jumava, 2007.
Pasaka par bizi [The Tale of the Braid]. Riga: Jumava, 1997.
Sākamgrāmata [Saying Book]. Riga: Liesma, 1985.
Kas tas ir ― kolhozs? [What is kolkhoz?] Riga: Liesma, 1984.
Blēņas un pasakas [Twaddle and Tales]. Riga: Liesma, 1980.
Lāču pasaka [The Tale of Bears]. Riga: Liesma, 1976.
Krāsainas pasakas [Coloured Tales]. Riga: Liesma, 1973.
Dokumentary prose, memoirs
Leišmalīte [Lithuanian Bordertowns], with Rimants Ziedonis. Riga: Zvaigzne ABC, 2013.
Nenoteiktā bija [The Indefinite Was], with N. Ikstena. Riga: Dienas Grāmata, 2006.
Ne tas kādam jāzina [Nobody needs to know]. Riga: Pētergailis, 2005.
Tutepatās [Youstillnear]. Riga: Karogs, 1992.
Tik un tā [Regardless] Riga: Liesma, 1985.
Kurzemīte. Otrā grāmata [Courland: Book 2]. Riga: Liesma, 1974.
Kurzemīte. Pirmā grāmata [Courland: Book 1]. Riga: Liesma, 1970.
Books to fall for
Epiphanies is full of moments of insight, flashes that combine essay-like meditations, journalism, irony, and philosophical conclusions. The author himself has said of Epiphanies: “They’re impulses, little flashes whose light illuminates a few moments in life especially brightly. Sometimes these impulses can seem contradictory; sometimes, as impulses tend to be, that’s exactly what they are. Yet as all the book’s impulses come together, they show us what life is, from birth until our journey into the afterlife.” The motif of the road, the idea of an individual’s and nation’s independence, the creation of self-confidence,
a tendency to seek intellectual freedom, and endless growth all appear in Epiphanies as they do throughout all of Ziedonis’ writing. In his initial works, we can sense discontent with alleged truths; this is why he challenges the world of dogma and its limitations. Over time, the author’s efforts to break apart and reshape the world develop into a longing to understand it thoroughly and to try to live in accordance with cosmic rhythms. Ziedonis was also deeply influenced by Latvian folklore and the Upanishads.
Rīga, Zvaigzne ABC (Originally published by Liesma, 1971)
Sold to Italian and English
The Tale of the Braid, read by Ēriks Pozemkovskis // Pasakas.lv [LV]
Imants Ziedonis' Award "Time for Ziedonis" // The Boris and Inara Teterev Foundation [EN]
Museum project of poet Imants Ziedonis // Dd studio [EN, LV]
Guntis Berelis, conversation with Imants Ziedonis // Satori.lv conversations [LV]
Imants Ziedonis, poems translated by Margita Gailītis // The Drunken Boat literary platform [EN]
Poet Imants Ziedonis dies at 79 // The Baltic Times [EN]
Imants Ziedonis // Words without Borders [EN]
Imants Ziedonis, about the author // Letonika.lv [LV]
Imants Ziedonis' Epiphanies published in Ukrainian // Delfi.lv [LV]Reviews
Mārtiņš Lasmanis: Dzejoļu grāmata par pretstatiem/ A Book of Poems about Contrasts, review of Draught // Jaunā Gaita, nr. 128, 1980.
2000, 2006, the Annual Latvian Literature Award
2002, the Cabinet of Ministers' Award for Lifetime Achievement
2001, Rainis Prize, Awarded by the Latvian Academy of Sciences
1995, the Order of the Three Stars
1990, Honorary Member of the Academy of Sciences
1974, E. Veidenbaums Prize
Favole Colorate (Krāsainās pasakas)
Title: Favole Colorate
Title*: Krāsainās pasakas
Damocle Edizioni, Italia
Story collection in Itaian of Latvian author Imants Ziedonis. Fairy tales for both children and adults.
Each Day Catches Fire
Each Day Catches Fire (Katrai dienai ir uzliesmojums)
Title: Each Day Catches Fire
Title*: Katrai dienai ir uzliesmojums
Red Dragonfly Press, USA
Poetry collection in English of Latvian poet Imants Ziedonis.