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Juris Kronbergs | Latvia

(9 August 1946 – 6 July 2020)  – a Latvian poet and translator.  He was born in 1946 in Stockholm in the family of the painter Rūdolfs Kronbergs (in 1945 Kronbergs’ parents emigrated to Sweden to escape Soviet occupation). He studied Scandinavian and Baltic languages as well as the history of literature at the University of Stockholm. He debuted in the mid-1960. His works veered between two cultures – Swedish and Latvian. His translations of 20th and 21st century literature include selected poems by the  Nobel Prize winner Thomas Tranströmer and Ulf Eriksson’s novel Creatures of Glass / Varelser av glas (Janis Roze, 2010). In the 1960s and 70s he worked as a cashier in the Stockholm underground  and was a member of many rock bands. His first collection of poetry was titled “Pazemes dzeja” and was published in the form of sheets and posters. Kronberg’s work has become one of the best examples of rebellion in Latvian literature of the 1960s. He was a chairman of the Latvian PEN Club, worked as an interpreter for the Swedish parliament and served as a cultural attache at the Latvian embassy in Stockholm. One of his most popular and most widely praised works is the series of poems “Vilks Vienacis” which has been translated into Estonian, Swedish, and English. The original, Latvian version was awarded the Latvian Writers’ Union Prize in 1997 and published in Latvia and Sweden as a voice recording featuring music by Kristap Grasi. Kronbergs was a member of the Latvian Writers’ Union and a honorary member of the Latvian Academy of Sciences. Together with the Norwegian poet Odeen Abrahamsent he also compiled an anthology of Latvian poetry that he translated into Norwegian.His translation of selected Swedish poems “Mani zviedri” were published in Latvia. Kronbergs received several important  literary awards: Aleksander Caks Literary Award (2005), the Latvian Order of the Three Stars (1998) and the Swedish Order of the North Star.  He passed away on 6 July 2020 while the work on the collection “Wszystkie ptaki, co we mnie…” was underway. 

Juris Kronbergs