Reet Sool

Reet Sool (1 XII 1951 – 30 XII 2021) was a poet and literary scholar.

Sool was born in Pärnu and completed Pärnu Secondary School No. 1 in 1970. In 1976, she graduated from Tartu State University, specialising in English language and literature. In 1978, she started postgraduate studies at Tartu State University and completed them in 1982. In 1983, she defended her candidate’s dissertation 'Satirical Tendencies in the American Novel of the 1960s–1970s' at Moscow State University. She upgraded her education in English and Scottish literature at the University of Edinburgh in 1990 and in Canadian literature at the University of Toronto in 1993.

From 1973–1974, Reet Sool worked as a bibliographer at Tartu State University Library and from 1974–1975, as a laboratory assistant at the Estonian Agricultural Academy. After graduation, she remained working at the Faculty of Philology of Tartu State University, from 1976–1978, she worked as a lecturer at the Department of Foreign Languages, from 1982–1984, as a lecturer at the Department of English, from 1984–1989, as a senior lecturer, from 1989–1992 as an associate professor. She taught English and American literature and the English language as the main subject.

From 1992, she continued as an associate professor at the Chair of English at the Department of Germanic and Romance Philology at the Faculty of Philosophy. She taught American literature, literary theory and special courses on James Joyce.

From 1993–1994 and in 1995, she worked at the University of Michigan, in 1998 at the Queens University of Belfast and from 1999–2000 on a Fulbright scholarship at the University of California, Berkeley. In 2005, she was a guest researcher at the University of Toronto. Sool was a founding member of the Estonian Comparative Literature Association and a founding member of the Baltic Centre for North American Studies, the Estonian Centre for British Studies, a member of the International Comparative Literature Association, a founding member and president of the Estonian Association for Canadian Studies.

Reet Sool wrote poetry in both Estonian and English. Her three poetry collections follow the classical traditions of poetry. The verse form is clear-cut, the author uses mostly end rhymes and plays ingeniously with polysemous words in Estonian and English. Her poetry includes plenty of motifs and influences from the antiquity, classical literature in English and European cultural history of the past centuries. There are memory pictures from the large cities of the US and impressions of small towns and scenery of Estonia.  Some recurrent themes are thoughts about death in the shade of everyday musings and dreams as an inevitability and escape from the fatigue of daily life.

In 1990, the children’s book Nigeeria muinasjutte (‘Nigerian Fairy tales’) appeared in Reet Sool’s translation. In 1994, she received the Henrik Visnapuu Literature Prize for translating of Henrik Visnapuu’s poetry into English and popularising his creation. In 2015, she was awarded the Small Medal of the University of Tartu.

L. P. (Translated by I. A.)


Books in Estonian and English

Jahe kuu. Tallinn: UMARA, 1997. 111 lk.
Murdub äär. River runs. Tallinn: Penikoorem, 2001. 69 lk.
Õrn Morpheus. Sweet Morpheus. Tallinn: Varrak, 2007. 123 lk.