Before a Painting
“A drop of sun”
Baiba Bičole, born in Latvia in 1931, left as a refugee during World War II, and since 1950 has lived in the United States. Though she has been a major Latvian poet since the 1970s, until Latvia regained its independence in 1991, she was known primarily in the West, as an exile poet, her work banned in Soviet-occupied Latvia. She is the author of six collections of poetry, and has received Latvian literary awards from the Zinaīda Lazda Foundation, the Raisters Foundation, and the World Federation of Free Latvians (PBLA). For many years she taught Latvian literature in Latvian schools in the United Sates and was the editor of the Latvian American newspaper Laiks.
Bitite Vinklers is a translator of Latvian folklore and contemporary literature. Her translations have been published in numerous anthologies and journals, including The Paris Review, Kenyon Review, The Massachusetts Review, and Two Lines. Recent translation collections include Imants Ziedonis, Each Day Catches Fire: Poems (Red Dragonfly Press, 2015); Knuts Skujenieks, Seed in Snow: Poems (BOA Editions, 2016); Aleksandrs Čaks, Poems (Riga, Latvia: Jumava Press, 2018); and Baiba Bičole, To Taste the River: Poems (Plamen Press, 2021). She lives and works as an editor in New York.