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Home and wayfinding

On Jaan Kaplinski’s writings



The article observes the depiction of home as an intimately experienced spatial node in three works by Jaan Kaplinski: a collection of poetry entitled Evening Brings Everything Back (1985); a piece of poetic prose Through the Forest (1991); and a contemplation written in South Estonian dialect Into the Forest and Back (2014). The framework against which the texts are read is informed by the phenomenologically minded school of human geography (Yi-Fu Tuan), merged with insights from architecture (Juhani Pallasmaa) and semiotics (Juri Lotman, Kalevi Kull) as well as from points of convergence of sensory perception studies with anthropology (Tim Ingold) and geography (Paul Rodaway). The focus is on the scope and the shifting boundaries of the varying representations of home in the texts, with special attention being paid to the role of different senses and modes of perception in experiencing the home space. Additional topics touched upon include the home conceptualised as a mid-earth node on a vertical cosmic axis; the firmness vs flexibility of the boundary between home and non-home in varying circumstances (changing of seasons; home in town as compared to home in the countryside) that are also discussed in relation with home, seen as essentially representing culture, and the forest, conceived of as the Other, nature par excellence. Finally, home also emerges as a set of places that is dynamically being brought into being by wayfinding among them.