It seemed that all had been said, yet I would still like to add the most important thing – I want to tell you why it is worth talking about Imants Ziedonis and how come that he basks in warm rays of immense people’s love. Therefore, – a bit about achievements.

During school, he soon silenced his first efforts as a poet, because neither the teachers believed in his talent, nor the hard-working family, immersed in concerns of livelihood supported him in matters of books. His first collection of poems came out at the age of twenty-eight, after protracted struggles with official Soviet-era censorship and criticism of literary professionals. His poet's journey began slowly, but when it did finally begin, it steadily ascended. Toward longing and thirst of society. And applause.

Passionately traveling all over Latvia on motorcycle, he dedicated his third collection of poems to these journeys. Here, he poetised the parts of the motorcycle – brakes, tires, handlebars, engine, – strikingly and forcefully. With these texts in the typical Aesopian language the poet inspired anxiety, a break from the Soviet routines, and urged people to follow independently chosen paths. The book captivated the theatre director Pēteris Pētersons, who was inspired by it in creating a form of performing arts hereto unseen in Latvia – poetry theatre. The show was a true hit and loved by the audience, it was shown 100 times.

At the age of thirty-five, Imants Ziedonis authored the poetry collection “I Enter Myself”, which was later included in the Latvian Culture Canon or, in other words, declared one of the 99 pillars of Latvian culture. The collection was about personal self-knowledge, continuous development, about the road (in creative and practical terms) as an end in itself and a value in itself.

This was followed by an increasing spiritual and philosophical search, in his poetry talking of freedom, acceptance of every moment as it is, of seeking harmony in oneself and the world, of the revelations of God, of the necessity and possibility of lightness, ease.

With approach of maturity, in 1971 the poet's intuitive, self-created genre of prose – epiphany – was released. These literary forms are similar to epiphanies of James Joyce. With the epiphanies, Imants Ziedonis became even more loved by people. And these most often resonate with each succeeding generation – over and over again. The epiphanies have been translated into English, Russian, Ukrainian, Swedish, Lithuanian, German. 
At the same time, the poet was ardently promoting children's literature and wrote fairy tales and alternative textbooks for them. He wrote so well that he received the Hans Christian Andersen Award. Some of his fairy tales have also been turned into cartoons, which are still loved by people.

Imants Ziedonis gained distinction not only in literature, but also due to his public endeavours, which I have already told you about, as well as the achievements in other fields of art. He created several screenplays for films, one of which is the Latvian literary classic play “Blow, wind”, which is based on folklore and talks about the dramatic clash of a love triangle with the code of morality of the era. The film won the Baku Prize at the 7th All-Union Film Festival for Best Screening of Classics.

His documentary journalism overwhelmed a large part of society, reflecting his experiences and observations in different parts of Latvia. Quite directly and mercilessly he described the social, economic and political aspects that manifested themselves in every possible way and were obvious to every ordinary Soviet-era citizen. This was reflected in the actions and deeds of the members of that society, which were rather omissions and sluggishness.

As of the seventies, Ziedonis also visited Latvians in exile – the United States, Canada, Sweden, and Australia. He aimed at strengthening contact and uniting the nation scattered around the world. He also sought prominent Latvians worldwide and studied their gene for excellence – including world-class architect Gunārs Birkerts, crocodile hunter, possibly prototype of Crocodile Dandy – Harry in Australia, and the exile Latvian, folklore researcher and psychologist, who subsequently became the President of Latvia – Vaira Vīķe-Freiberga.

Internationally recognized Canadian Latvian director Baņuta Rubesa said of Imants Ziedonis: “Some poets are famous, others are notorious. Rarely, they are loved. Such a one is Latvian poet Imants Ziedonis, who had and still has a following akin to that of celebrities like Bob Dylan or Leonard Cohen. His list of accomplishments is endless, ranging from children’s books to prose poems, to box-office-hit movies and popular songs. He was a phenomenon, a poet whose books had print runs of tens of thousands and sold out instantly, books read by fishermen and milkmaids, beekeepers and hairdressers, actors and presidents.” 

The colourful personality and creative endeavours of Imants Ziedonis in the second half of the 20th century gained immense recognition, popularity and even worship. He left his mark on the entire history of Latvian literature, marking both his time and the standards of contemporary poetry. His writings resonated beyond the books. His words were often seen as an alternative to official political ideology. He cared about the growth of people's personalities, spiritual pursuits, the influence of the Soviet political regime on society, and he cared about Latvianness.

We see his imprint and influence on Latvian culture, as well as the love of people in quotes and paraphrases of his texts in everyday conversations, on wedding cards, television programmes, religious services, magazine interviews, cookbooks, shop windows, restaurant interiors.

We see the reverence and adoration extended to him in the hall at the National Library of Latvia bearing his name, in the play staged by the internationally acclaimed Latvian director Alvis Hermanis at New Riga Theatre "Ziedonis and Universe”, in the album created by composer Raimonds Tiguls, where the music accompanies epiphanies read in Ziedonis' own voice. The poetry of Imants Ziedonis has been accompanied by the melodies of world-class Latvian composers – Imants Kalniņš, Raimonds Pauls and Pēteris Plakidis and more. Today, his poems are popularized by the band Carnival Youth, as well as by our foundation Viegli

And there is a feeling that the road of Imants Ziedonis never ends, because he continues to talk to us and inspire to create. Again and again.

See you soon, friends!