Reijo Roos publishes bilingual poetry collection in Estonian, Võro

Reijo Roos.
Reijo Roos. Source: Anett Lee Melts

Reijo Roos, a Finnish-Estonian poet, published a bilingual poetry collection in Estonian and Võro, a language spoken in southern Estonia. The Võros have declared their indigenous status as of April 2023 and are seeking recognition for Võro as a mother tongue in education and official registers.

After the government launched the expansion of Nursipalu training area in the spring of 2023, the Võros of southern Estonia voted to declare themselves an indigenous people.

"The world has changed so much that we must declare loudly that we are a nation, that we have a language, and that we want to be recognized as Võro people in the census. We don't want our language to be labeled as a dialect, but as a language," Kauksi Ülle, a writer, said.

Reijo Roos' latest collection of poems covers everything from Russophobia to love, but his volatile, dual life in Estonia and Finland is the main focus. He said his poetry has become more narrative, personal and detailed this time.

Triinu Laane, an Estonian-Võro translator and author, said that she was exited to work on the translation of Roos' poetry as she could peek into the thoughts and feelings of someone much younger than herself.

Roos enlisted the help of graphic design pair Mette Mari Kaljas and Nelli Viisimaa. Kaljas said the design of the publication is experimental and boundary-pushing, much like Roos' poetry.

Reijo Roos. Source: Siim Lõvi /ERR


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Editor: Eeva Trei, Kristina Kersa

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