Covenant Number 2. Poems 2000-2003


Leping nr 2

Covenant Number 2. Poems 2000-2003 (Poetry, Estonian)
Published by Tuum, 2004, pp. 63

One of the most interesting Estonian poets of the younger generation, Triin Soomets (1969), gives her readers the image of herself, her poetical self-portrait, in the text titled “Soomets”. This is wordplay: in Estonian, the poet’s name is a compound word, meaning “a bog” and “a wood”. She says: “I am interested in your lips as if they were the Ten Commandments,/ because I sin against most of them/ when I kiss you.”

Maybe just these verses embody a sin against the first covenant, made between the man and god, from which originates the journey of sovereign art to discover the darker, more mysterious and “boggier” half of human nature. The same is also suggested by the cover design of the book, where the author’s portrait has been blended into the shadows of blood-coloured trees. The poet as a creator is an individualist and does not tolerate the authority of god over her. We can say that Covenant Number 2 is made only with oneself, and the poet says that “the most awful covenants/ are made with oneself.”

The destructive eroticism of Soomets’s poetry has frightened critics, at the same time evoking thrilling psychoanalytical observations. Her verses of well-defined form and coherent rhymes, full of hints and unspoken images, leave many alluring openings for the reader’s fantasy, but the final truth still always slips away. Her poetry employs images referring to new romanticism, bright symbols, physical sensations, and sometimes even frighteningly straightforward erotic details. Such poetry is nothing like fragile and tender. Rather, we can sense something animal, primeval and rebellious coming from deep inside and resisting the fine cultural polish of the surface. Sometimes, this poetry is like a description of a reflection in the mirror, where the poet sees her reflection as an animal. Quite often she refers to a she-wolf or simply to a predator; the “you” to whom she addresses the poems becomes an animal with a muzzle in her dreams. But quite frequent the play with gender roles in Soomets’s poems allows us to believe that here, too, she gives us self-reflections. In such reflections, a human being is the arena for eternal opposition of antagonistic forces – desire for pleasure and destruction, dominating and succumbing to raw force, but maybe even culture and nature.

Text by Rutt Hinrikus and Janika Kronberg

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