Aksel Tamm

Aksel Tamm


Aksel Tamm (23. XII 1931 - 15. VIII 2023) was a literary critic, translator, editor and publisher.

Aksel Tamm was born in Tallinn. He graduated from Tartu State University in the speciality of Estonian literature in 1956, took postgraduate studies there and worked from 1958–1961 for the journal Looming and for a shorter time as poetry consultant at the Writers’ Union. From 1962–1964, he was deputy chief editor of the Estonian State Publishing House, thereafter secretary of the Estonian SSR Writers’ Union in matters of organisational work. From 1966-1982, Aksel Tamm worked as chief editor of Eesti Raamat publishers. He initiated the publication of several book series. From 1983–1995, he was the chief editor of the journal Keel ja Kirjandus.

Aksel Tamm was a member of the Communist Party of the Soviet Union from 1957–1990, of the Estonian Writers’ Union from 1966 and of the Estonian Association of Journalists from 1969 until his death. He has made presentations and delivered longer addresses at international literary forums in Reims, Bologna, Copenhagen, Bucharest, Bled, Lahti, Bratislava, and Moscow.

Aksel Tamm was popular as a literary critic. As early as in his student days, he made presentations on literary themes, particularly on issues of poetry. He treated literary themes in the press and radio broadcasts. More than 250 presentations on the radio and literary programmes on television made Aksel Tamm widely known as a populariser of literature.

Aksel Tamm translated Russian prose literature into Estonian and compiled several collections. At his initiative, the two-volume anthology of Ain Kaalep’s poetry translations, Peegelmaastikud (‘Mirror Landscapes’) was published in the 1980s.

In 1978, Aksel Tamm received the title of Merited Cultural Worker of the Estonian SSR. In 2002, he was awarded the Order of the White Star, Class 4 of the Republic of Estonia.

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

Books in Estonian

Essays and articles
Aga see oli üks mees: eluvisandeid. Tallinn: Kuldsulg, 2003. 230 lk.
Ja väntab härg: pamflette. Tallinn: Kuldsulg, 2004. 160 lk.
Ütle, tsensor, milleks sulle käärid: keelamise lood. Tallinn: Kuldsulg, 2012. 177 lk.