Cornucopia. A Hundred Poems



Cornucopia (Poetry, Estonian)
Published by Vagabund, 2001, pp. 184

Modern Estonian poetry is inconceivable without essayist and poet Hasso Krull. Since the second half of the 1980s, he has published literary essays, introduced poststructuralist and postmodernist methods of analysing literature, and published a number of poetry collections that have often appeared to be illustrations to these theories. Krull’s poetry has mostly originated from secondary inspiration, it has striven for neutrality in phrasing and paragrammatical dialogue with other texts, rather reflecting the essence of language than the reality. His collections of poetry are integral and often devoted to a certain subject, as indicated by their titles, such as Swinburne and Jazz.

But the latest of them, Cornucopia, is a step towards plainness, although its texts carry the spirit of both modernist and postmodernist poetry. Being at the same time chrestomathical and varying in form, the poems delicately point at the inexhaustible possibilities of language and poetry, but they do not realise all these possibilities themselves. Metaphor is almost missing in these texts; intertextuality is much pronounced in poems inspired by the works of the beat-generation and Kostas Kariotakis. Compared with Krull’s previous work, the poeticising of details of everyday life and a complete free verse travelogue ”A Trip To the Country of Mari El” (”Reis Marimaale”) – broad and flowing like the Volga River along which the author travels in the poem – give the collection the air of newness. In this case, the whole is composed of two polarities – the aesthetic and the immediate reality. Or as Krull himself has said in one of his new poems, which is a dialogue discussing psychology of creative work: a book is, on the one hand, an artefact, but on the other hand, it is trivial everyday life which you need to be thoroughly familiar with.

Cornucopia is delicious and enjoyable, it is a subtle book, one of the best among the Estonian poetry collections of 2001. The reading of it is as exciting as drinking from the horn of plenty.  

Text by Janika Kronberg

First appeared in Estonian Literary Magazine

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