A World War II refugee from her native Latvia, Baiba Bicole immigrated to the United States in 1950, at the age of eighteen. She has been a major Latvian poet since the 1970s, but until Latvia's renewed independence in 1991, she was primarily known in the West, as an exile poet, her work being banned in Soviet-occupied Latvia. She belongs to the postwar generation of Latvian poets who reached artistic maturity outside their native country and broke with tradition, abandoning the older exile generation's emphasis on nationalistic poetry. Her poems are lyrical and personal, often with intense emotion and startling imagery; scenes of inner experience, they may begin with realistic observation, but can quickly become visionary. Shown through different prisms, like variations on a theme, her subjects include separation and loss--colored by her experience of exile; the related significance of song and language; and love. Central to her poetry is the natural world, both as subject and as metaphor. Appearing most frequently are waters (rain, mist, ice and snow, rivers), sun, birds, and sky. There is a continuing motif of thirst, along with the need for freedom and movement.