Imants Ziedonis

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Imants Ziedonis (May 3, 1933) is a Latvian poet who first rose to fame during the Soviet occupation period of Latvia.

Early life

Ziedonis was born in the Sloka fisherman's district of Jūrmala, Latvia. He was educated at the University of Latvia in Riga where he earned a degree in philology in 1959. He earned an additional degree in advanced literature in Moscow in 1964. As a young man, Ziedonis worked in a wide variety of jobs ranging from librarian to road construction worker and from teacher to literary editor.

Imants Ziedonis

Ziedonis published his first major collection of poetry 'Zemes un sapņu smilts' ('Sand of earth and dreams') in 1961. By the end of the decade, he had established himself as among the preeminent voices of Latvian literature through publishing three more important collections of poetry: 'Sirds dinamīts' (1963, 'The heart's dynamite'), 'Motocikls' (1965, 'Motorcycle'), and 'Es ieeju sevī' (1968, 'I go into myself').

During the same period, Ziedonis began publishing work besides poetry. His 1965 Dzejnieka dienasgrāmata (1965, A Poet's Diary) and two years later his (1967, Along the Foamy Path) established his prose writing reputation as well. His reputation established, Ziedonis rose to become the Chairman of the Writers' Union Board and Chairman of the Latvian Culture Foundation. Ziedonis considered defecting to the West but chose to remain in Latvia to preserve from what he perceived as Russian destruction the best of Latvian literature in the National Library. 

In the 1970s Ziedonis became interested in the roots of Latvian folk culture. To this end, he built a house in the countryside outside the town of Murjāņi. The very act of building a house as private property was a defiant act in Latvia during the Soviet occupation period, so the choice to do so was in some respects a political statement. Ziedonis, however, emphasized his desire to establish his roots with the countryside. It was during this period that he began to collect and write folk tales and children's books. These included Krāsainās pasakas (1973,Colored Tales), Lāču pasaka (1976, Tales of Bears) and Blēņas un pasakas (1980, Twaddle and Tales). His children's book Kas tas ir — kolhozs? (1984, What is a Kolkhoz?) directly addressed the kolkhoz or Soviet collective farm in an era when the collective system was under increasing scrutiny in Latvia as elsewhere in the USSR.

Ziedonis maintained an odd balance between dissidence and acceptance in the Soviet occupation era. As one of the most open voices in poetry during the Soviet occupation era, he repeatedly risked appearing as a dissident to the Soviet leaders. A leading voice in the perestroika period toward the end of the Soviet occupation era, Ziedonis was an outspoken advocate of freer expression and the growth of the Latvian Cultural Fund. This was particularly evident in his first published collection of essays Garainis, kas veicina vārīšanos (1976,Steam That Promotes Boiling). At the same time, Ziedonis never fully broke with the Soviet authorities. Indeed, in 1977, the year following his inflammatory essays, the Soviet government awarded him the National Poet of Soviet Latvia prize.

Following Latvian independence from the Soviet Union, Ziedonis in 1995 was awarded the Order of the Three Stars, Latvia's highest honor for civic merit to the nation.

Source: wikipedia.org, news.lv, latvijaslaudis.lv, diena.lv

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        Relations

        Relation nameRelation typeBirth DateDeath dateDescription
        1
        Jānis ZiedonisFather04.01.190800.00.1980
        2
        Anna ZiedoneMother04.11.191109.06.1977
        3
        Daila ZiedoneSister02.09.193517.11.2003
        4
        Ritma ZiedoneWife22.07.193100.02.2008

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        19.11.1920 | Nodibināts Dailes Teātris

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        01.06.1988 | Radošo savienību Plēnums

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        10.07.1988 | Nodibināta Latvijas Nacionālās Neatkarības Kustība (LNNK)

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        21.08.1991 | Latvija pieņem konstitucionālo likumu Par Latvijas Republikas valstisko statusu

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