Knuts Skujenieks 1936

Poet, translator and literary critic Knuts Skujenieks was born in Riga in 1936. He studied Latvian at the University of Latvia and concluded his studies at the Maxim Gorky Literary Institute in Moscow in 1961. While still a young poet, in 1962 Skujenieks was arrested, accused of “anti-Soviet propaganda” and sentenced to seven years in a forced labour camp in Mordovia. During his imprisonment Skujenieks continued to write poetry (where he wrote some 1000 poems), which could not be published after his release. Despite Skujenieks’ steady and distinctive mark on the poetic process, his first book was published when he had already reached the age of 42, quite uncharacteristic for a Latvian poet’s debut.

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