Ivar Ivask, born December 17, 1927, is a legendary poet and literary scholar. His use of words was enough to have one drowning in his books. He was editor-in-chief and professor of Spanish language literature. During his time alive, he was acknowledged for all his great work as a poet and professor. Those who knew him, loved him, and explained him to have been very vibrant. Today we’ll help you celebrate the life of this man on his special day.
Ivar Vidrik Ivask
December 17, 1927
September 23, 1992 (age 64)
Ivar Ivask was born in Riga, Latvia, to Estonian parents. Ivask attended school and studied art history and comparative literature at the University of Marburg. He then left for the United States, to study at the University of Minnesota.
In 1952, he taught at St. Olaf College in Minnesota and later at the University of Oklahoma. He became editor of the international literary quarterly Book Abroad which was later renamed. Ivask knew the work of Scandinavian writers, despite having specialized in German and Hispanic literature, which made him a perfect fit for the job as an editor. Ivask was also the coordinator of the Neustadt International Prize for Literature. This prize was awarded every two years and as the coordinator, Ivask hosted numerous writers from all corners of the world. For being the coordinator, Ivask was known to be patient and kind during the deliberations, and for that, he was loved by many. The Puterbaugh Conference on writers of the French-speaking and Hispanic world was founded by Ivask and he also co-ordinated these. His debut work of poetry was made in 1964 and in the 1980s he began writing his poems in English as well. He also received several awards, including the Foundation for Estonian Arts and Letters award, and the Regents Award for Superior Accomplishment from the University of Oklahoma.
He was married to a Lativian lady by the name of Astrid. The two got married in 1926 and did not have children together. In 1955, he was finally naturalized as a citizen of the United States.
He marries his poet and translator lover, Astrid Ivask.
He escapes from Estonia to Germany.
He takes the role of the editor-in-chief of the international literary quarterly “World Literature Today.”
Due to unfortunate circumstances, his life comes to an end.
Why We Love Ivar Ivask
He was a good poet
Ivask knew how to use his words. His poems are heartfelt and take you through every emotion he was going through at the time in which he wrote the poem.
He was intelligent
As a literature professor, he was very gifted. He knew how to explain literature in such a way that he had to have been one of the best professors at the University of Oklahoma.
He was an active man
Those who knew him explained him to be an active and healthy man. He never rode a car or a bike to campus, and even in the days leading up to his death, he still looked to be in good shape.
5 Surprising Facts
He served for over two decades
He served for 24 years as the editor-in-chief.
He was an active man
Even in the days leading up to his death, his friends couldn't have guessed that he'd be leaving them because he was ever so vibrant, despite his illness.
He had a good sense of humor
Usually, people of literature aren't associated with humor, but Ivask knew how to have a good laugh and lessen the tension in any room.
People suspected his name
Those who knew him suspected that the ‘v’ in his name stood for vitality.
He wrote his poetry in Estonian
For a while, his poetry was written in his home language, before eventually he began writing it in English.
Ivar Ivask FAQs
What was his best poem?
His best poem was titled “Arvo Pärt.”
How did Ivask die?
Ivask died due to illness, and his death was peaceful and painless.
Did Ivask have siblings?
Not much is known or disclosed about his siblings, so it could be safe to assume that he had no siblings.
Ivar Ivask’s birthday dates