Venda Sõelsepp

Poems Venda Sõelsepp


Venda Sõelsepp (17. VII 1923 – 12. V 2006) was a poet and children’s author. His works are mainly concerned with two Estonian seaside towns, Haapsalu and Pärnu, where he lived and whose landscapes inspired his lyrics.

Sõelsepp was born in Haapsalu, the son of a potter, and attended schools in Haapsalu. After leaving secondary school he worked for the Haapsalu newspaper Lääne Sõna. During the war he served in the Estonian Home Guard. For his wartime activity he was arrested in 1944 on political charges and was sent in 1945 to the Kolyma labour camp. After forced labour in the prison camp and forced exile in Magadan he arrived back in Estonia in 1956 and worked as a product specialist and foreman at commercial and service enterprises in Haapsalu and Pärnu. From 1974 he was a professional writer.

Sõelsepp published more than twenty books, most of which can be classified as children’s literature. He made his debut in 1942 in the newspaper Lääne Sõna. After his imprisonment and resettlement he published his first poetry in 1957 in the journal Nõukogude Naine ('Soviet Woman').   

Initially Sõelsepp’s poetry followed traditional verse forms (sonnet, haiku, tanka); later he turned to free verse and formal diversity in his work. Nature offered Sõelsepp, as a lyricist, stimuli to examine life and himself. The author’s work can be divided into public commentaries on the times and meditative lyrics that portray melodic pictures of nature. In 1993 Sõelsepp published the poetry collection Narilaulud ('Bunk Songs'), which consists of experimental mood-pieces from his youth. In the books of verse he published between 1963 and 1993 Sõelsepp dedicated and important place to poetry for children. He also wrote prose books for children, the children’s play Näärinoor ('Young Santa Claus'), topical satires and parodies. Sõelsepp’s work has been translated into many languages. In the nineteen-nineties the Haapsalu newspaper Lääne Elu published some of his memoirs.

L. P. (Translated by C. M.)

Books in Estonian

Algas sellest. Tallinn: Eesti Riiklik Kirjastus, 1964, 88 lk.
Rohekaskoldses kirjas. Luulet 1973–1978. Tallinn: Eesti Raamat, 1979, 96 lk.
Narilaulud. Pärnu: Anamnesia, 1993, 217 lk.
Lõukakivi. Noppeid nelja aastakümne luulest. Pärnu: V. Sõelsepp, 1998, 74 lk.

Adne v. Zoel, Käggo-kell, elik Mitto öppetlichod Luggo-laulud, moistlikulle ülles arwata. Perno: Anamnesia, 1999, 88 lk.

Poems for children
Igal pool on vaba sõit. Tallinn: Eesti Riiklik Kirjastus, 1963. 45 lk.
Kutt kiisupoeg. Tallinn: Eesti Raamat, 1965. 31 lk.
Põhjavalguse laulud. Tallinn: Eesti Raamat, 1968. 39 lk.
Juhani rakett. Tallinn: Eesti Raamat, 1969. 14 lk.
Pikk nina. Tallinn: Eesti Raamat, 1969. 44 lk.
Rõõmus supp. Tallinn: Eesti Raamat, 1969. 19 lk.
Pani timmi viiuli. Tallinn: Eesti Raamat, 1971. 34 lk.
Päike kuldab maad. Tallinn: Eesti Raamat, 1974. 80 lk.
Kõik meeled avali. Tallinn: Eesti Raamat, 1976. 48 lk.
Mutikas. Tallinn: Eesti Raamat, 1980. 40 lk.
Sinikuube sirguke. Tallinn: Eesti Raamat, 1981. 46 lk.
Tuulte piiril. Tallinn: Eesti Raamat, 1983. 29 lk.
Kass ja koer. Kuressaare: Oma Saar. 1993. 24 lk.

Targasti tehtud. Tallinn: Eesti Raamat, 1970. 64 lk.
Maidu, Urro ja Kurnilda. Tallinn: Eesti Raamat, 1979. 64 lk.
Kirilinnutüdruk. Pärnu: V. Sõelsepp, 1994. 16 lk.

Kolõma – kole maa. Tallinn: Eesti Keele Sihtasutus, 2021. 391 lk.