Maarja Kangro came to the Estonian literary world as a translator of Umberto Eco, Hans Magnus Enzensberger, Andrea Zanzotto and Valerio Magrelli from Italian, English and German, and became a poet somehow and somewhere through translating. Her interesting, intellectual and irritating poetry makes the reader either smile or jump with its unexpectedness or paradoxical recognition. She has translated and written opera libretti and has the understanding of inner musicality, which broadens into the rhythm of her verse, not easy to describe. Without hesitation one can say that her poetry collections are important events in the Estonian poetry world.
Maarja Kangro was born in 1973 in Tallinn. She is the daughter of the poetess Leelo Tungal and the composer Raimo Kangro. She studied English philology at the University of Tartu and is continuing now on her doctorate at the University of Tallinn, concentrating on cultural studies.
She debuted late with a collection, Kurat õrnal lumel (A Devil on Tender Snow, 2006). Kangro´s later poetry is especially rich in allusions, often like fabric tightly interlaced with them, showing the feeling of being at home in the European literary context.
In 2006 Maarja Kangro published a children’s book, Puuviljadraakon (Fruit Dragon) together with her artist sister Kirke Kangro.
Her poetry is ironic, surprising, bizarre. It rouses thoughts and looks at things from a sudden aspect, from inside. She often paints a perfect, complete picture, where weird things and phenomena seem suddenly unexpectedly familiar. She herself has said that she likes explosions in language, the kind of traumatic moments where language meets the real world (a kind of Lacan thought), and expects her poetry to sound good, as it is of the verbal arts the closest to music with its acoustic and physical side.
After three collections of poetry she has lately been drawn to prose, where she stays as witty and unexpected (both in the turns of the story or the sudden warmth or sadness) as in her poetry.