Veronika Kivisilla is a storyteller and bard, who made her poetry debut in 2011 with the collection Dear Calendar. Both this brief and spirited first work and the following Veronica officinalis (2012) convey the image of an author, whose humour takes note of small but important everyday details, and who rejoices in the world around us in a rich, enchanting language. Born in 1978 in Tallinn, Kivisilla is a rare species inhabiting the fringe of the city – occasionally fleeing to the country, the forest, and the sea. In her poems, nature, flora, and avifauna are perched side-by-side with the city, which she perceives around her just as well.

Kivisilla studied Estonian language and literature at Tallinn University and has compiled textbooks, songbooks, and dictionaries. A musician, she has performed in medieval- and folk-music ensembles. Although her writing has only further entrenched her seriousness as a poet with every new collection, music and storytelling are not lost between the lines – rather, melody and fairy-tale provide the accompaniment to her poetry and constitute a natural element of the writing. Stories branch off from simple poetic images, while footnotes that weave in and out of the text and develop the poems further bind together greater, overarching topics. Kivisilla’s 2015 collection Cantus Firmus takes its title from medieval music – something of core significance to the author. The Latin concept means a fixed melody, upon which one may build all other melodies and progressions – in Cantus Firmus, Kivisilla has found her song.

The work is more serious than her earlier collections, but also freer; simultaneously earthly and playful. Written in the same measure as joy of observing her child’s world is a serious, even melancholic sub-tone of standing up for a better world.

Veronika Kivisilla is the kind of poetess who believes that today, literature must be brought to the reader and the author must read their words aloud. She has performed her poetry at the Transpoesie Poetry Festival in Brussels.

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