Images painted with words

  • 2013-12-19
  • Reviewed by Tatyana Kasima

Kristiina Ehin was born in Estonia, the town of Rapla. This fact is not mentioned here just to start off an article with the poet’s biography, although it is natural to start your story from the day you were born.
However, in this case Ehin’s origin is also strongly intertwined with her poetry. Her poetry is the embodiment of folk songs, old myths, fairy-tales that date back a long time and carry the wisdom and inspiration of generations. These factors bring the reader close to Ehin’s Estonia, where by retelling of south Estonian stories she creates a close connection between folk heritage and modern Estonia.

While reading Ehin’s poetry and short stories the most impressive are the images that are painted with words. There are only so many colors, but when they come together they create a painting; there are only so many notes but combined together they create a symphony; there are only so many letters in the alphabet but together they create a perfect tapestry which is, at the same time, a painting and a song. You can read this poetry out loud, or quietly to yourself, in the morning or in the evening, to your children before they go to bed.

Her poetry makes your mind run across the fields and meadows, fly high above the clouds, feel the taste of so many different sour-sweet berries and be warmed with the never-setting sun.
Her adjectives are colorful and vibrant, they are warm and it is almost possible to feel and touch them. There is also something homey and familiar about them. I believe as a foreigner that it helps one to experience Estonia deeper, on a more emotional level. You should also pick up this book for more cultural insights. For an Estonian it can be yet another opportunity to look at your country from a poetic perspective and experience the cosy, rich and diverse heritage it has to offer.

Ehin’s books are available at Slothrop’s bookstore:
Among her works: “The Drums of Silence,” “In a Single Breath,” and her most recent work “1001 Winters.” Visit her blog for more updates and information, at: /goto/