„Singing to the last throb”: the poetics of trauma in Bernard Kangro’s poetry Cover Image

"Ma laulan seni kui tuksub elu mu käte all". Trauma poeetika Bernard Kangro luules
„Singing to the last throb”: the poetics of trauma in Bernard Kangro’s poetry

Author(s): Maarja Hollo
Subject(s): Estonian Literature, WW II and following years (1940 - 1949)
Published by: SA Kultuurileht
Keywords: Bernard Kangro; poetry as testimony; trauma; World War II;

Summary/Abstract: The article discusses six poems from the poetry collection Põlenud puu (Charred tree, 1945) and three cycles from the collection Varjumaa (Shadowland, 1966), both published in exile by Estonian author Bernard Kangro (1910–1994). Those autobiographical poems and cycles are interpreted as a testimony, testifying not only to the author’s personal experiences of the World War II, but also in the name of the other Estonian refugees and in the name of those who suffered and perished in their home country. The article analyses Kangro’s themes, motifs and figures of speech associated with traumatic experience and remembering, as well as the witness position of the lyrical I. The themes of Kangro’s testimony poems include the great escape from Estonia in 1944, loss of homeland, its violent occupation, and also remembering, commemoration, witnessing, testification and the sinking of the traumatic events into oblivion, which all brings sadness, anxiety and melancholy to his lyrical I. Melancholy is associated with motifs of death referring either to the death wish of the lyrical I or to the painful events caused to the homeland by war and occupation. The gist of Kangro’s testimonial poetry consists of traumatic memories and emotions of recalling them, mainly expressed by means of personification, symbols and depersonification, as well as allegory.

  • Issue Year: LX/2017
  • Issue No: 11
  • Page Range: 846-861
  • Page Count: 16
  • Language: Estonian