Poet, translator and philosopher Jaan Kaplinski dies

Jaan Kaplinski, 1941-2021.
Jaan Kaplinski, 1941-2021. Source: Ülo Josing /ERR

Noted Estonia poet, translator, philosopher and cultural spokesperson Jaan Kaplinski has died, after a period of serious illness. He was eighty.

Born on January 22, 1941, to an Estonian mother and a Polish-Jewish father, Kaplinski even wrote poems in English, Finnish and Russian, as well as his native Estonian.

He translated various works from French, English, Spanish and Swedish, into Estonian, and even translated the Tao Te Ching – reflecting his deep interest in Eastern philosophies – into Estonian.

Kaplinski was also involved in an Irish-Estonian cooperation which predated Estonian independence, appearing on the Ulster TV talk show "Kelly's People".

He was also a Riigikogu member, 1992-1995.

A Catholic convert, he leaves a widow, writer Tiia Toomet, his second marriage, and five children, three with Toomet, one with his first wife, Küllike Kaplinski, and one with philologist and translator Anne Lill.

Kaplinski was a member of the Riigikogu (the Estonian parliament) from 1992 to 1995.

He also has an asteroid named after him, main-belt asteroid 29528 Kaplinski.


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Editor: Andrew Whyte

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