"Life Collection" is [a volume] of selected Estonian poems … illustrated with [Ivask's] own pen-and-ink drawings which reflect well the spirit of the book. He has elected not to arrange the material chronologically, but rather thematically and associatively. This proves to be an excellent idea, as it has permitted the poet to impart to this selection nuances which transform it in many ways into something completely new. It presents the author's profile in sharper relief and through recurring motifs points out what he considers most essential.
This way of looking at a poet's production reminds us of studying growth rings in a tree—we see the individual's personality at the same time as we see his development. The fact that the recurrence of images through the years and even decades does not become a burden to the reader is proof of the vitality and freshness of Ivask's poetic gift. The very titles of the seven sections in the volume dramatically embody his thematic reach…. "Time Is the Artery of Space," in which the philosophical implications of the author's world view are particularly evident, is perhaps the most aptly named section.
Ivask has, without doubt, added considerably to the already varied landscape of Estonian poetry. Even the dimensions of its themes have been widened in a manner which might be called geographic expansiveness. Ivask's subject matter shows a Viking-like agility. Since the day of Gustav Suits (1884–1956), no Estonian poet has worked within so open a system of international coordinates, remaining at the same time deeply Estonian. In this respect he has fulfilled the promise of his first collection, "The Meaning of Stars."… Homeland as a...
(The entire section is 704 words.)