The poems of the Estonian writer and artist writing under the Krishnaite pseudonym of Mathura have been translated into Russian, English, Polish, Swedish, Finnish, Albanian, Spanish, Mari and Hindi. He himself has translated from Hindi, too – a collection of selected poems of the leading living poet in that language, Kunwar Narain. Mathura is considered to be one of the most extraordinary talents of the younger generation of poets in Estonia, who has no competitors in his field of pantheistical, peaceful, emotionally courageous and humane creation. Mathura is a productive reviewer of film and literature, and he paints with oil pastels.

Born in 1973, Mathura (a pseudonym of Margus Lattik, born from a long interest in the cultures of the East) studied English philology at the University of Tartu and has belonged since then to the literary group Erakkond (The Group of Hermits). He has studied at the Vrindavan Institute for Higher Education in India and researched the indigenous culture of the island of Palawan in the Philippines.

Simple, but deep, often free-verse, but rhythmical, his poetry is very beautiful. Mathura´s childhood landscapes of Western Estonia dominate in his texts with their seashores, seaside meadows and scattered trees on them, describing windy and severe days with endless Northern light. The almost religious purity and sincerity of those magic landscapes is perceivable in his verse as an eternal dialogue with childhood, written already somewhere away, but still filled with this feeling, even when he writes about far-away lands.

Mathura has travelled much, and travel is one of his topics in both poetry and poetry-like prose. In his recent sensitive and very personal book of travel to Guatemala Guatemala, maa hing (Guatemala, The Soul of the Earth, 2009) the journey is made more into the inner world of the author than to the outer one, with poems and ancient legends of the Maya in addition. This is a sequel in prose to Mathura´s Middle American poetry collection Luuletused Atitlani järvelt (Poems from Lake Atitlan, 2008).

He has composed poetry about countries from India to the Philippines and through Italy to St Lucia. Inimene on rohi (Man Is Grass, 2008) is thematically connected with Paul Gauguin´s tropical experiences, yet so deeply an eternal dialogue with his homeland. His colourful world is rich in moods and tones, sometimes almost as gloomy and thunderous as one of his motifs.

In Kohalolu (Presence, 2006) he is warm, deeply touching, and suggestive. He has a social undertone, being mentally away from the modern consumerist world. Mathura feels close to the postcolonial authors, Ben Okri and Derek Walcott for instance, and has dedicated poems to them. His travel experience is mirrored in poetical narratives and as the poet himself has said, they are an attempt to catch the completeness and brilliance concealed in every moment of life.

Text by Elle-Mari Talivee


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