“I have loved all my life”. The phenomenon of the poet Aria Elksne

Imagine the following situation: in a bookstore in the center of Riga, a meeting of a Latvian poetess with readers is scheduled, but there are so many people that a hundred people have to stay behind the door, and upon arriving at the event, the poetess herself is no longer allowed inside. “Why do you have such a riot?” calls and asks from the building opposite the bookstore – the Council of Ministers. This is not a fiction, Arija Elksne experienced such a manifestation of popularity in 1966, after the publication of the collection “In the middle of summer”. Today, one of the most beloved Latvian poets of all time turns 95 years old.

It is difficult for readers who did not live at the same time as Elksni to fully appreciate how popular she was. Public poetry readings, meetings with readers in crowded halls, purchased books that instantly became bibliographic rarities (now they are no longer like that) – the poet experienced all this for more than 20 years and valued it very highly. “Elksne really wins and maintains the appreciation of phenomenal readers – especially women – for whom her poetry is important and necessary,” says the poet and literary scholar.

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