On Wednesday, February 27, nationally renowned poet Imants Ziedonis died at the age of 79.
People are being invited to come outside and leave a candle for him on the corner of the Zaļa and Dzirnavu Streets in Riga.
Ziedonis was a Latvian poet, publicist, short prose (Epiphany) author, translator, screenwriter, politician and one of the most popular Latvian story writers. He was also a notable political activist during the Awakening period.
He was born on May 3, 1933. In 1959, he finished his studies at the Latvian History and Philology faculty, and completed the Higher literary courses in Moscow in 1964.
Ziedonis began working as a road worker, teacher in Olaine and Kemeri; was a teacher at the 1st Jurmala’s high school.
Ziedonis published his first collection of poetry in 1961. He then became a member of the Latvian Writers Union.
From 1964 to 1965 he worked as a librarian at the Kemeri library, poetry editor at Liesma publishing house and Board secretary at the Latvian Writers Union.
In 1973, Ziedonis was awarded the National Poet title. In 1983, he was awarded the National Friendship order. In 1987, Ziedonis became the Chairman of the Latvian Culture fund. He was elected as an independent candidate for the Supreme Council of the Republic of Latvia in 1990. He was a member of the SC’s National Education, Science and Culture Commission; voted for the restoration of independence of the Republic of Latvia.
In 1995, Ziedonis was awarded the Order of Three Stars. He also received a commemorative sign as a participant of the 1991 barricades.
In 2002, he was given the Cabinet of Ministers prize for lifetime contribution to Latvian culture.
Ziedonis received the internationally recognized Hans Kristian Andreessen’s story Masters diploma; international Janusz Korczak medal and Honorary Diploma for active work in the development of children’s culture.
Farewells to the national poet will take place at Riga City Council on March 6. The doors of Dome Cathedral will remain open for all from 10:00 to 13:00. The service will be held by Pastor Juris Rubenis, Culture Ministry reports. On March 6, Latvian state flags in mourning will be put up at Riga municipality buildings.