Marie Under (1883 –1980) is considered by many to be Estonia’s greatest poet – she has been called ‘Estonia’s Goethe’. Her first collection Sonetid (1917) was a collection of sensuous love sonnets. Later, during the first Soviet occupation of 1940-1941, Under wrote brave and compassionate poetry about deportations and war. In 1944, before the second Soviet occupation of Estonia, Under and her family fled to Sweden where, without ever seeing her homeland again, she died in 1980. She was nominated for the Nobel prize in literature many times after the Second World War but never won, possibly because she was a political refugee.
This text comes from the introduction to our translation workshop, April-May 2018.