Betti Alver

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Betti Alver
Betti Alver.jpg
Born Elisabet Alver
(1906-11-23)23 November 1906
Jõgeva, Estonia, Russian Empire
Died 19 June 1989(1989-06-19) (aged 82)
Tartu, Estonia
Other names Elisabet Talvik
Elisabet Lepik
Occupation Poet
Years active 1922–1989
Spouse(s) Heiti Talvik, Mart Lepik

Elisabet "Betti" Alver (23 November [O.S. 10 November] 1906 in Jõgeva – 19 June 1989 in Tartu) (from the year 1937 Elisabet Talvik, and from the year 1956 Elisabet Lepik),[1] was one of Estonia's most notable poets. She was among the first generation to be educated in schools of an independent Estonia. She went to grammar school in Tartu.[2]


She began as a prose writer. She became known for being a member of the Arbujad ("Soothsayers"), a small group of influential Estonian poets including Bernard Kangro, Uku Masing, Kersti Merilaas, Mart Raud, August Sang, Heiti Talvik and Paul Viiding. After the war her husband Heiti Talvik was imprisoned by the Soviets and died in Siberia.[3] For two or three decades she was silent as a poet as protest of Soviet rule, but renewed activity in the 1960s. Of note in this second period is the 1966 collection Tähetund or "Starry Hour." She also wrote novels and did translation work.[4] On the hundredth anniversary of her birth a museum was dedicated to her in Jõgeva.[5]