Knuts Skujenieks was born in Riga to an actress Marija and a writer Emīls.


Knuts’ mother Marija passes away when Knuts is only a few months old.

Knuts and his brother Leons come to live with their grandparents in a rural municipality of Kurmene, around 60 kilometres outside the town of Bauska.


Knuts begins studying at the elementary school of Mūri.


During the war, Knuts’ father leaves the country and lives in exile, later – moves to the USA. Meanwhile, the grandparents’ mills were destroyed.


Knuts continues studying at Mežvidu school in Taurkalne rural municipality.


Knuts enrols in the Jaunjelgava secondary school. There he begins to write poetry and gets his first works published.


Knuts’ aunt Zenta Lūse takes both Knuts and Leons into custody. Knuts continues studies at the Riga 2nd Secondary School and becomes interested in translating poetry.


Knuts finishes secondary school and enrols at the Faculty of History and Philology of University of Latvia.


Knuts does not finish his studies at the University, however, he chooses to enrol at The Maxim Gorky Literature Institute in Moscow. There he meets lots of contemporary writers – beginning with a fellow Latvian poet Vizma Belševica (1931–2005), as well as a Russian literary classic Boris Pasternak (1890–1960). 


On March 13th, 1959, Knuts meets Inta Bleiere, his future wife.


Knuts’ grandmother Anna passes away.


Knuts graduates from The Maxim Gorky Literature Institute. On August 12th, Knuts and Inta became married and together they moved to Salaspils. Their first home is a small gardener’s house inside the territory of The National Botanic Garden.


In April Knuts is arrested and accused of anti-Soviet activities. He is sentenced to seven years in prison camp in Mordovia, Russia. The accusation was fabricated and groundless; it was politically motivated.


While being imprisoned, Knuts turns to writing poetry again. Between 1963 and 1969, he wrote more than eight hundred poems, however, it was impossible to publish the poetry during the Soviet era. Approximately 200 poems were finally published in 1990, in a collection titled “Seed in Snow”.


Since 1963, Inta systematically rewrote the poems that Knuts sent her from the prison camp. The poetry was retyped in five copies, in case something happened to them. Later on the poetry was passed around in different circles of unofficial readers in Latvia and especially in Riga. Although Knuts debuted only in 1978, lots of new voices in Latvian poetry considered Knuts Skujenieks as their most significant influence.


Knuts’ father Emīls and grandfather Juris both passed away. Emīls Skujenieks is buried in Ohio, USA.

In 1965 there were some fundamental changes in the course of the Latvian SSSR Union of Writers. Lots of the dogmatic and ideologically oriented writers became less relevant, more contemporaries and confreres of Knuts Skujenieks became leading figures in the union. Knuts’ poetry was analysed and discussed in two meetings in 1965 and 1968, respectively.


During the years of imprisonment, Knuts managed to keep most of his belongings, especially those that had something to do with literature. He lost some letters, as well as his portrait, which was officially confiscated.


The case of Knuts Skujenieks was well known outside the boundaries of USSR. Amnesty International became intereseted in the faith of the writer. Unfortunately, it didn’t have much influence on the process, and Knuts looks back at it with a slight irony.


Knuts finally returns to Latvia. Since then, the family resides in a house on Dārza Street in Salaspils. Knuts continues writing poetry and extends his work in translations.


The first translated collection of poems by a Ukrainian writer Lesya Ukrainka gets published.

Knuts seeks help among the members of The Latvian Writers' Union, however, his attempt to publish the first collection of poems is ultimately unsuccessful. Of all the poetry written in the 1960s, only the fourth of the poems were acknowledged and considered for possible future publications.


A son, Jānis is born. The release of translations of poetry by a Spanish writer Federico Garcia Lorca (“Yell”) and a Slovene poet Oton Župančič (“Insomnia”).


Knuts gets accepted in The Latvian Writers' Union. The translation and release of poetry by a Serbian writer Desanka Maksimovič “I Seek Clemency”.


A daughter, Māra is born.


The translations and release of two collections of poetry – “Sensemaya:” by a Cuban poet Nicolás Guillén and “The Long Arrival of the Fire” by a Macedonian poet Aco Šopov.


Knuts’ poetry is heavily criticised by the members of the Central Committee of the Communist Party of the Soviet Latvia, especially by Alexander Drīzulis.


The translations and release of another collections of poetry: “Winepress” by a Chilean poet-diplomat Gabriela Mistral and “Testimonies” by a Greek poet Yiannis Ritsos.


On the very last days of the year, Knuts’ first collection of poems “Lyrics and Voices” is finally published. Knuts also gets his first award – the Poetry Festival Prize.


Knuts takes part in the Celebration of the River Daugava in the River Daugava Museum. The celebration actually becomes a symbolic demonstration.


Knuts begins a systematic translation of folksongs. The first one of the series is a collection of Greek folksongs “The Bridge over Arta”.


Knuts translates the collection of poetry by a Swedish poet Gustaf Fröding (“Guitar and Concertina”).


The second book in the series of translated folksongs is released, the collection of Polish folksongs “The Apple Tree”.


Knuts takes part in the celebration of the 150th anniversary of Krišjānis Barons, a Latvian “father of the dainas”. He also suggests and ultimately establishes and eventually leads the Board of Folklore within the Union of Writers.

A Latvian composer Uldis Stabulnieks (1945–2012) wrote one of the most recognisable songs with lyrics by Knuts Skujenieks, „Mēmele” (Mēmele is a river in Latvia, that also symbolises the childhood places of the poet). The composer has used Knuts’ poetry multiple times, the earliest being one of the first blues compositions in the history of Latvian music in the early 1970s.


Knuts receives his second Poetry Festival Prize, as well as the Andrejs Upīts’ prize.

Knuts’ aunt Zenta passes away.

The release of the second collection of poems “Do It Up in a White Kerchief”.


A collection of Knuts Skujenieks’ essays and articles titled “A Hand-Woven Shirt” is published, and the last one in the series of translated folksongs – a collection of Lithuanian folksongs “Ground Raised the Grass”. Both books received the first class diploma of Press Committee of Latvian SSR.


Knuts is officially rehabilitated. He also receives the official title of the Culture personality of Latvian SSR.

On March 25th, he takes part in a symbolic action – changing the flag on the tower of Holy Spirit of Riga Castle.

Together with a Latvian poet Uldis Bērziņš and an ensemble “Dutch Baltica” he travels through many European countries. Knuts also becomes a member of P.E.N. association of writers.


After more than twenty years, the collection of poems written during the time in the prison camp is finally published, titled “Seed in Snow”.


“Seed in Snow” becomes the first collection of poems that is translated into a foreign language. Juris Kronbergs translated it into Swedish.


Knuts becomes an honorary member of the Latvian Academy of Sciences. Latvian P.E.N. association of writers relocates from Sweden to Latvia, Knuts becomes its Chairman of board. The first selection of previously unpublished poetry is released – “Tracks of Froth”, an unusual and miniature-sized edition.


Knuts officially becomes a politically repressed person, he also gets retirement because of his disablement. He writes a cycle of poems about Iceland and receives the honorary Lithuanian Yotvingian Prize for Poetry. Another selection of both already published and unpublished poetry titled “The Eternal Crescent” is released.


Knuts receives the Spanish Order of Isabella the Catholic. Scandinavian ballads. “Seed in Snow” is translated into Ukrainian (“Nasiņņa v sņihu”) and another selection of poems is released – “The Winner comes through a Back Door”, which includes copies of poet's handwritings.


A very important year for the writer. Knuts Skujenieks receives The Order of the Three Stars; he also becomes an honorary member of The Baltic language Studies of Charles University in Prague.

Book publishers “Zvaigzne ABC” began their popular series “A Must-Have Book” with the collection of poems by Knuts Skujenieks, titled “Bitter Hand”.


A selection of poems titled “Life Story a True but Incomplete Story of 33 Years of Life with 33 Poems, Fine and Poor” is released.


The renderings of Carl Michael Bellman’s Songs, Wine and Death   “Songs, Wine and Death” and another selection of poems “I Wish to be a Bench in a park…” are released.


Knuts receives The Royal Norwegian Order of Merit.


Knuts simultaneously with another prominent Latvian poet Vizma Belševica receives Tomas Tranströmer Prize.  

Knuts’ brother Leons passes away.


Knuts Skujenieks receives the Lithuanian Order of the Grand Duke Gediminas. 

A Danish poet’s Benny Andersen’s “Svante’s Songs” are translated by Knuts Skujenieks. Knuts’ daughter Māra finishes the Design Academy of Eindhoven and chooses to stay and work in Netherlands.

Knuts Skujenieks receives the Swedish Order of the North Star.


Knuts receives The Annual Latvian Literature Award for the collection of European folktales “Oh Song, Tread Lightly in My Heart”.

Knuts receives a badge for the remembrance of participation in the Barricades in 1991.

Their son Jānis marries Ina Auziņa.


The first volume of the Complete Works of Knuts Skujenieks becomes available. In the span of the next six years, another seven volumes would be published. Knuts also becomes an honourable member of the Lithuanian Writers Union.

One of the first ceremonies of Knuts’ day, taking place in the Salaspils cultural center Enerģētiķis. Another politically repressed Latvian writer Valentīns Jākobsons (1922-2005) was also present. The scenography of the hall was made similar to that of the prison camp.


Knuts’ grandson Hugo is born. Another collection of poems in Swedish is published (“Bitter Hand, Bitter Mouth”).

Knuts becomes an honourable citizen of Salaspils.


 A bilingual edition of Knuts’ poetry in Lithuanian is published. Also, “Socrates Talks to Wind”, a collection of poems by a Lithuanian poet Sigitas Gedas, translated by Knuts Skujenieks.


Knuts receives the National Resistance member’s badge. Knuts’ grandson Emīls is born. A small, pocket-sized collection of poems is translated into Croatian (“Pjesme”).


A collection of poems “Now I am Alexander” is published, as well as the monography about Knuts Skujenieks, written by his contemporary and a friend Jānis Rokpelnis. On the Dole Island, Knuts and Inta celebrate their 45th wedding anniversary.

Knuts receives a badge of Merit from the National Writers' Union of Ukraine.


Another collection of poems “Our Life, Served” is released. It contains poetry written between late 1990s and early 2000s. The collection is awarded the Eduard Veidenbaums’ prize.


Knuts receives the Baltic Assembly Prize for Literature for his writings. The last volume of “The Complete Works” is published. “Now I am Alexander” is translated into Armenian, and another selection of poems is translated into Swedish (“Som ekens rot till vatten”).


Knuts receives the Latvian civilian order of honour. A selection of poems is translated into Bulgarian.


Knuts receives the Lifetime Award during The Annual Latvian Literature Award. The last collection of poems “Nothing Personal” is released. Another selection of poems is translated into Italian (“Tornato da un altro mondo”).


Knuts takes part in the opening of the new building of the library of Salaspils. Another selection of poems, titled “A Hundred”, is released. 

A special edition of a poem “The Button” is published. It contains one of the most intimate and important poems by Knuts Skujenieks, translated into 33 different languages.


For his contribution in the development of Latvian literature, Knuts receives the Award of the Cabinet of Ministers of the Republic of Latvia.

A unique collection – “Kro-Kro” – containing the correspondence between Knuts and his wife Inta, written during the imprisonment, is released.


The stories surrounding the time in the prison camp are retold and complemented by paintings of Bruno Javoišs in the specially designed book “Cards”.


The collection of writer’s personal books becomes a part of a separate bookshelf in the Humanities and Social Sciences Reading Room of the National Library of Latvia, located in the newly built Castle of Light.

Knuts receives the Medal of Merit for the Polish Culture.

One of the last ceremonies of Knuts' Day being held in the cultural center "Enerģētiķis". Later the celebration was held in different institutions of culture in Salaspils. The evening was hosted by Knuts' friend and contemporary poet Jānis Rokpelnis.


“Seed in Snow” is translated into Italian (“Un seme nella neve”).


A very prolific year with four collections of poems translated into different languages: “Seed in Snow” both in English and in German (“Samen im Schnee”), “Bare Stars” in Russian and “Small is My Fatherland” in Ukrainian (“Мала моя батьківщина”).

Knuts celebrates his 80th birthday in the newly opened garden of the cultural centre “Rīgava” in Salaspils.

Knuts’ granddaughter Marta Emma is born.


A partial documentary “Knutification”, directed by Ivars Tontegode, is released. The National Library of Latvia presents the “Bibliography” – a full index of Knuts Skujenieks’ works. Also the first collection of poems “Lyrick öch Roster” (“Lyric and Voices”) is released in Swedish and a collection of Knuts’ poems used in music is released.


The specialists of the Salaspils library in collaboration with a specialist in literature Arnis Koroševskis and a photographer Kaspars Suškevičs visited Knuts and Inta multiple times in search for the materials that could be used and publicised on the site. Between 2017 and 2019, a total of couple hundred photographs and few hours of voice recordings were made.


The new multimedia site of Knuts Skujenieks is presented on the celebration of Knuts’ day. The participants of the celebration included a musicologist Orests Silabriedis and a singer Ieva Parša.

Two more collections of poetry are published in foreign languages – “All I Have is Words” in English and “Seeme lulle all” (“Seed in Snow”) in Estonian.

Two more collections of poetry are published in foreign languages – “All I Have is Words” in English and “Seeme lulle all” (“Seed in Snow”) in Estonian.


A spread of Knuts' notebook with his handwriting. Knuts actively participated in the creation of this site; here you can see the recommendations and suggestions regarding the selections of his translations of foreign poetry.

After the initiative of a fellow Latvian poet Guntars Godiņš, the second edition of Knuts’ first collection of poems „Lyric and Voices” gets published. The poet has humorously characterised it a „cloning” of his old book.