Māris Caklais (1940 - 2003)

Photo by Uldis Briedis /Diena/


The poet, writer, and journalist Māris Čaklais was born in Saldus in 1940 and died in Riga in 2003. Čaklais studied journalism at the State University of Latvia until 1964; his first publications appeared in 1960. Čaklais worked at the newspapers “Literatūra un Māksla” (Literature and Art) and “Literatūra un Māksla Latvijā” (Literature and Art in Latvia), at the Liesma publishing house, and for Radio Free Europe. From 2000 to 2003, he was the editor-in-chief of the literary journal “Karogs”.

Čaklais translated poetry by German authors Bertolt Brecht, Paul Celan, Hans Magnus Enzensberger, and Rainer Maria Rilke, among others. He also wrote the lyrics, set to Imants Kalniņš’s music, for the popular songs featured in the film “Elpojiet dziļāk!” (Breathe Deeper!) and a Latvian production of Ferenc Molnár’s play “Liliom”. In 2000, Čaklais was a member of the Latvian delegation to the European writers project “Literature Express Europe 2000.”

Čaklais received the Order of the Three Stars (2000), the Fridtjof Nansen International Award (1994), the Annual Literature Award (2000), and the Herder Prize (2002).