Ivar Ivask

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.

Fast Facts

Full Name:

Ivar Vidrik Ivask

Birth date:

December 17, 1927

Death date:

September 23, 1992 (age 64)

Zodiac Sign:


Net Worth:

$5 million


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.

Career timeline

He Gets Married

He marries his poet and translator lover, Astrid Ivask.

He Escapes His Homeland

He escapes from Estonia to Germany.

He Becomes Editor-In-Chief

He takes the role of the editor-in-chief of the international literary quarterly “World Literature Today.”

He Passes Away

Due to unfortunate circumstances, his life comes to an end.

Why We Love Ivar Ivask

  1. 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.

  2. 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.

  3. 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

  1. He served for over two decades

    He served for 24 years as the editor-in-chief.

  2. 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.

  3. 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.

  4. People suspected his name

    Those who knew him suspected that the ‘v’ in his name stood for vitality.

  5. 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

2024December 17Tuesday
2025December 17Wednesday
2026December 17Thursday
2027December 17Friday
2028December 17Sunday

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