Ivars Šteinbergs is a researcher at the Institute of Literature, Folklore and Art of the University of Latvia (ILFA) and a PhD candidate at the Latvian Academy of Culture. In 2017, he received a Fulbright grant to study comparative literature in the U.S.A. He earned his M.A. in Comparative Literature at the State University of New York at Binghamton (SUNY, Binghamton) in 2018. He is a poet and critic, with two books of poetry published by “Neputns” (2020, 2022).
“Modernism as Contraband? Tracing Some Aspects of Western Poetics in Soviet-Era Latvian Poetry”
This paper analyzes the presence of western modernism in the poetry of Soviet Latvian authors as “foreign” influences that shaped the literary culture of occupied Latvia alongside the demands of socialist realism and local traditions of the past. Looking at selected works by poets whose creative life coincided with different moments of the occupation, it is possible to read them as a form of literary contraband that strives to introduce artistic currents from the other side of the Iron curtain into the national discourse – a perspective that is supported by a comparative analysis between examples of local lyric and the foreign writings that Latvians read and translated (as in the case of the works of Federico García Lorca, Arthur Rimbaud et al.).