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Selected Poems

ISBN 1848616740

Autor: Aleksandrs Caks,Ieva Lešinska

Editorial: Shearsman Books

Páginas: 122

Idioma: eng

Publicado: 11/10/2019

Alto: mm

Ancho: 152.00 mm

Lomo: 7.31 mm

Acabado: Tapa Blanda


Aleksandrs Čaks (1901–1950) was a Latvian poet, born in Riga, the son of a tailor. He was one of the first Latvian writers whose work reflected urban realities, rather than rural life.

With the outbreak of the First World War his high school was evacuated first to Estonia, and then to Saransk, Russia. In 1918 Čaks began to study medicine in Moscow, and attended literary evenings with the Futurists and other avant-garde groups. In 1920 he was drafted into the Red Army, serving as a medical orderly.

In 1922 Čaks returned to his homeland, and resumed his studies, but soon lost interest and resigned his university place. In 1925 he obtained a teacher’s certificate and became a primary-school teacher and administrator. In 1928 Čaks established a magazine for young Latvian writers, and was fully involved in Riga’s literary scene. He later worked as a bank clerk, gave lectures on literature, and also worked as a technical editor in the Association of Latvian Riflemen, where he helped to publish a collection of their documents and memoirs. Inspired by these writings, he wrote an important  collection of poems, Touched by Eternity, for which he was awarded a major prize. Following the Russian occupation in 1940, Čaks was criticised for supposed anti-Soviet sentiments in several poems from this volume, but was otherwise unaffected. During the subsequent Nazi occupation Čaks was not allowed to publish and kept his head down. Following the second Soviet occupation in 1944, Čaks began working for a communist newspaper, where he was put in charge of the culture section. However, things went downhill for him thereafter, with a political campaign causing his dismissal. In 1949, with Latvia now absorbed into the USSR, Čaks was once again accused of straying from Marxist values and writing politically incorrect works. The accusations weakened his health, and he died of heart disease on February 8, 1950. One of the central streets in Riga, which now houses a Čaks memorial museum, is named after him.

       This volume is the most comprehensive translation of his work yet to appear in English, and the first to be published in the UK.