Ene Mihkelson - Naming the things of the world

by Janika Kronberg

The tragic Estonian poet, Juhan Liiv, who lived on the knife-edge between genius and insanity, lived at the turn of the 19th and 20th centuries and went into history as a prophet, foretelling the coming of the Estonian state in his works. The Estonians' belief in poetry and the power of words originates partly with him: the word that has been uttered by a poet, a thing that has once been given a name, has been destined to become the reality. The Juhan Liiv Poetry Prize, established about thirty years ago, is unique among Estonian literary prizes. It honours the word and is not a monetary prize, but the winner is awarded a shepherd's bag made of leather, or some other leather artefact; it is presented to the author of the most outstanding poem published in any given year, the chairman of the awarding committee being the winner of the previous year's prize. In1999, Ene Mihkelson was awarded this prize for the second time, and this was not a chance occurrence. >>

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