Lauri Sommer

Poems Lauri Sommer


About Lauri Sommer

Lauri Sommer (up to 1991 Soomere, born 2 April 1973) is a poet, prose writer, literature researcher and musician.

Sommer was born and attended school in Viljandi. For one year, he studied librarianship at Viljandi Culture College. Sommer graduated from the University of Tartu in the speciality of literature and defended a MA thesis on Uku Masing there. He belongs to the literary grouping Erakkond and to the music groups Liinatśuraq, Kago and Ütsiotsõ. He is a member of the Estonian Writers’ Union from 1999.

Sommer began to publish poems in the newspaper Sakala from 1990. His first poetry collection Laurila appeared in 1998. Its tone is set by the young man’s introspective searches along with pictures of nature. The debut collection reveals textual and contentual closeness to Uku Masing whose style Sommer has developed further. Interest in nature, in the world of magic and incantations, in old local spirits and Oriental visions can also be noticed in the collection Nõidade õrnus (‘Sorcerers’ Tenderness’, 2004), which received the Gustav Suits Poetry Prize in 2005. Language usage in Sommer’s poetry is idiosyncratic as dialect and slang words, colloquial language and elevated style intertwine.

His first prose collection Kolm yksiklast (‘Three Loners’, 2010) received the Literature Endowment Annual Award. It presents the stories of three persons essential for the author – Setu village healer Darja (Sommer’s great-grandmother), musician Nick Drake and Uku Masing. They are all connected by the theme of loneliness. Different persons and stories of a certain place are connected in a book with an autobiographical undertone, Räestu raamat (‘The Book of Räestu’, 2012), which is centred on Sommer’s home village Räestu in Võru County. Along with introspective journeys, the book includes documentary material and stories which are entwined into an idiosyncratic whole emphasising the meaningfulness of the geographical place and history. In 2012, the book received the Literature Endowment Annual Award and the Bernard Kangro Literary Prize. A counterpart to Räestu raamat is Sealpool sood (‘Beyond the Bog’, 2014), which also deals with local history, concentrating on the surroundings of Viljandi, particularly on the village of Jämejala, and the author’s paternal family. Different places in Tartu and the people related to them are spotlighted through introspective, dreamlike and personal occurrences in the book Toome tuled (‘Lights on Toome Hill’, 2022) where Sommer intertwines them in his characteristic manner.

In addition to poetry and prose, Sommer has written about literature and music, translated (among others Richard Brautigan and Georg Trakl) and presented radio programmes.

Sommer has also twice received the Annual Award of the journal Looming (2001, 2007); the Literature Endowment article award for Uku Masingu käsikirja „Saadik Megellani pilvest“ vaimne, ajalis-ruumiline ja elulooline taust (‘Spiritual, Temporal, Spatial and Biographical Background to Uku Masing’s Manuscript “The Envoy from Magellan’s Cloud”’), which is based on his MA thesis; the Juhan Liiv Poetry Prize (2014), the August Gailit Short Story Prize for Pärlipyydjad (‘Pearl Divers’) and the Order of the White Star, class V. Sommer received the writer’s salary from 2021–2023.

A. K. (Translated by I. A.)

Books in Estonian

Poetry collections
Laurila: 1992-1997. Tartu: Erakkond, 1998, 83 lk
Raagraamis poiss: luuletused ja tõlked: 1990-1992. Tartu: Eesti Üliõpilaste Selts Veljesto, 2001, 96 lk
Nõidade õrnus: 1998-2003. Sänna: Tiivaalune, 2004, 86 lk
K.L. ja N.: 2004-2007. Räestu: Tiivaalune, 2008, 83 lk
Kunagi: 2008-2015. Räestu: Tiivaalune, 2015, 86 lk
Kodu kaduvas. Viru: Tiivaalune, 2019, 34 lk

Short prose
Kolm yksiklast. Tallinn: Menu Kirjastus, 2010, 196 lk
Räestu raamat. Tallinn: Menu Kirjastus, 2012, 272 lk [järgmised trükid: 2013]
Sealpool sood: 2006-2014. Tallinn: Menu Kirjastus, 2014, 270 lk
Lugusid lõunast: 2012-2016. Tallinn: Menu Meedia, 2016, 197 lk
Lõputu soovid. Tallinn: Menu, 2020, 134 lk
Toome tuled: 2015-2021. Tallinn: Menu, 2022, 314 lk