'In a dream'

'In a dream'
In a dream
I saw a ticket booth
at a bus stop where
birds’ feathers were sold instead of tickets
and the seller was...
an old man
with the early spring sun in his eyes

and for you young lady...
he said slowly
and took from somewhere next to the door
where there might have been
a bin and a broom
one more feather
a white plume
light and as tall
as himself

I paid and went
in dream’s muddy buses
no notion of waking
no fear of inspection
Kristiina Ehin

From 1001 Winters, by Kristiina Ehin. Translated by Ilmar Lehtpere (New York: Bitter Oleander Press, 2013)

Kristiina Ehin

Ehin is one of Estonia’s leading poets and is known throughout Europe for her poetry and short stories. She has an MA in Comparative and Estonian Folklore from the University of Tartu, and folklore plays a significant role in her work. In her native Estonian she has to date published six volumes of poetry, three books of short stories and a retelling of South-Estonian fairy tales. She has also written two theatrical productions as well as poetic, imaginative radio broadcasts, one of which has also been released as a CD. She has won Estonia’s most prestigious poetry prize for Kaitseala (Huma, 2005), a book of poems and journal entries written during a year spent as a nature reserve warden on an otherwise uninhabited island off Estonia’s north coast.

Kristiina has published seven books of poetry and three of prose in English translation. The Drums of Silence (Oleander, 2007) was awarded the British Poetry Society Popescu Prize for European Poetry in Translation, and The Scent of Your Shadow (Arc, 2010) is a British Poetry Book Society Recommended Translation.

Her plays and broadcasts have also been translated into English and her work, poetry and prose, appears regularly in leading English language literary magazines and anthologies in the US, UK and Ireland. She is the featured writers in The Bitter Oleander 18:1, with 32 pages devoted to her poetry, short stories and an in-depth interview. In addition to English, her work as been translated into 19 languages.

Kristiina lives in Estonia with her husband, the musician Silver Sepp, and her son.

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About 'In a dream'

'How to explain my language to you' by Kristiina Ehin was shortlisted for the 2013 Popescu Prize (formerly the European Poetry Translation Prize).

Ilmar Lehtpere is Kristiina Ehin’s English language translator. He has translated nearly all of her work – poetry, prose and drama – most of which has appeared in Kristiina’s nine books in his translation, as well as in numerous literary magazines. Kristiina and he have won two prestigious prizes together for poetry in translation. Their collaboration is ongoing. Ilmar lives in Estonia with his wife, the poet Sadie Murphy.