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Hubert Butler (1900-1991) was born and died in Kilkenny, Ireland, at Maidenhall, his family home. He was educated at Charterhouse and St. John’s College, Oxford, and subsequently worked for the nationally-organized Irish County Libraries. During the 1920s and ‘30s he taught and traveled in Egypt, Russia, the Balkans, and the Baltic countries. Upon his father’s death, in 1941, he returned with his wife, Susan Margaret (Guthrie), to Maidenhall, his family home, where he lived for the next half-century. Their daughter, Julia Crampton, lives in the United States. An historian, translator, amateur archeologist, and essayist, Hubert Butler published in a number of Irish journals; in 1968, with Lord Dunboyne and George Butler, he founded The Butler Society. His first book, a scholarly investigation, was TEN THOUSAND SAINTS: A STUDY IN IRISH AND EUROPEAN ORIGINS, Kilkenny: Wellbrook Press, 1972. His essays were published thereafter by The Lilliput Press of Dublin in four collections: ESCAPE FROM THE ANTHILL, 1985; THE CHILDREN OF DRANCY, 1988; GRANDMOTHER AND WOLFE TONE, 1990; and IN THE LAND OF NOD, 1996. An English collection is THE SUB-PREFECT SHOULD HAVE HELD HIS TONGUE, AND OTHER ESSAYS, London: Viking Press, 1990. In France, Butler’s work was introduced by Joseph Brodsky, in L’ENVAHISSEUR EST VENU EN PANTOUFLES, tr. Philippe Blanchard, preface by Joseph Brodsky, Paris: Anatolia Editions, 1994. At Brodsky’s urging, a selection of the essays drawn from the four volumes brought out by The Lilliput Press was published in the U.S. as INDEPENDENT SPIRIT, New York: Farrar, Straus & Giroux, 1996.

K. Callaway, poet and traveler, has become a contributing editor of ARCHIPELAGO. Her “Estonian Letters” appeared in our inaugural issue (Vol 1, No. 1 ). See News of our Previous Contributors, below.

Richard Jones is a journalist and novelist who has tried his hand at all forms of writing except for the theater. This is his first contribution to an on-line journal. He is a native of Cardiganshire in Wales (born in 1926) and was educated in Wales and France. He worked for Reuters and the BBC and for a time was a correspondent in Beirut. After the publication of his first novel, in 1967, he began teaching creative writing in American universities, including Stanford and the University of Virginia. He has been a book reviewer for a wide range of publications beginning with The Listener (the now-defunct BBC publication) and most recently for The American Scholar.

Michael Sarki has published poetry in the electronic magazines Salmagundi, Gotham Gonzo, Blue Penny Quarterly, Other People’s Clothes, and elimae. He has also published poetry in the bound periodical, The New Orleans Review, and has poems forthcoming in Ceteris Paribus, on the Internet. He lives in Kentucky and makes his living selling brick.

V. Digitalis is a book editor and reviewer who ought to have better things to write about than gardening, but apparently doesn’t.

News of Our Previous Contributors

Maria Negroni, author of the collection of poetry EL VIAJE DE LA NOCHE, from which a selection appeared in our inaugural issue, has received a Mencion Especial in the Argentine Premio Nacional de la Literatura, a distinguished literary prize given every three years by the Argentine government.

K. Callaway’s ”Estonian Letters”  drew a letter from Dawn Magi, who wrote:

My father was born in Saaremaa, my mother here, but both her parents were born in Estonia. My grandfather was very active in the Boston Estonian Society, and when I was a child, I was saturated with things Estonian -- except the language. My father would not allow me to learn it; he said I was American and should speak English. Even without the language, I came to have strong identification with the country, a pride in it.

As you know, there is not a lot of information on the subject of Estonia. So when I accessed your magazine and saw the article, “Estonian Letters” in the table of contents, I was unable to do anything else until I read the whole piece.

It was interesting to discover the impressions of a non-Estonian person, who apparently had no prior knowledge of the country. I found that some of her observations confirmed feelings I had. Other observations that I didn’t necessarily agree with made me feel that she hadn’t gone, or hadn’t been allowed to go, beyond the sometimes invisible veil.

My excitement comes from the realization that the soul of a country fuses with the souls of its citizens, and even reaches across boundaries to their progeny. Fragments of mind-sets, characteristics, beliefs move through the generations, silently, often unnoticed, until some phrase, or description, or feeling blasts them into reality. This is what happened to me when I read K. Callaway’s article.

I’m hungry for knowledge of where I came from, and don’t really know where to look for it. I visited Estonia in 1992, after my father’s death. It was a search mission, but I didn’t know where to look. I knew he was born on Saaremaa, but didn’t know the town. I went to Saaremaa, and explained to my guide that I wanted to find this unknown place. The goal of my search was not realized, but other things happened. I felt at home in this place that I had never seen. The language was familiar to me, even though I didn’t understand it. I smelled the smells of my childhood.

I would be happy to have other Eestiphiles contact me.

Dawn Magi





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