Uldis Bērziņš


“Every nationality is a separate bride to God” (Karogs ‘02/ 7, 25) Poet and translator. Born in 1944 in Riga. Studied Latvian philology at the University of Latvia (1962-64). First poetry published in1963; first collection of poetry published in 1980. Studied Turkish in Leningrad University’s Oriental Studies Department (1968-1971), expanding his knowledge of languages also in the Asian and African Studies section of Moscow State University (Persian and Turkish), at Tashkent State University (Uzbek), Reykjavik University (Icelandic), as well as in Czechoslovakia, Sweden and others; participated in the international seminar on translation of the Bible at Amsterdam Open University. Did fieldwork in the Theology Department of Lunda University on questions regarding the translation of the Koran. Since 2002 he has taught Turkish in the University of Latvia’s Modern Languages Department. Bērziņš translates and renders from Slavic, Semitic, Turkish, Iranian, German and other languages, and is regarded as one of the most significant contemporary translators, having influence on many poets in both writing poetry and translating. Bērziņš has been a member of the Text Committee of the Latvian Bible Union, and is an honorary member of the Latvian Academy of Sciences (1992). He has been decorated with the Three Star Order (1995), received the Zinaida Lazda Award (1994), the Baltic Assembly Award (1995) and the Spidola Award (2000). In 2009, Bērziņš received the Days of Poetry Prize for poetry translations. The same year, he was awarded the annual Literature Prize for his collection of poems A Conversation with a Postman.