The XIX Annual International Literary Festival

The theme of the XIX Druskininkai Poetic Fall: Poetry: Strolls in the Orbis Tertius or Steps Towards Reality?

Long ago, people started to ask questions about the reality of the reality, or to be more precise about the reality of its reflection in our consciousness. This was done in the East and Ancient Greece in a very radical way. Religions with a history as a part of their sacred text that have been later dominant in the West did not leave much place for such questions.  (Adam, on getting permission to name all things and even after he bit into the fruit from the Tree of Knowledge, apparently did not ponder the demiurge nature of this act; at least it is not stressed in the Bible, and got involved with creating heirs.) Now in times of total cultural syncretism this question sounds louder. Some people try to ask and to answer it in a traditional philosophic way; others, not wishing to bother themselves, move on into some kind of Second Life ( where they do business, take part in politics, have fun, in other words play the everyday games of their nondescript lives. Creators of these and similar webs pacify such people by making them feel that there is a Primary, real, life satisfying in this way our desire to take things easy.
    There exists of course a certain world registered by the senses. We have a lot of means at our disposal to describe it, from language to scientific experiments, but all these descriptions depend on devices we use. Language itself, signs of culture, are of the same Second, named world, Orbis Secundus, as Borges would say, and are somehow torn away from Orbis Primus, which is always here and now. We sense its presence, but it is not easy to say something about it. Very often we do not feel the Second world; it exists by itself. A toothache can’t dispel the appearance of this world; it only proves its reality. All our life proceeds in this Second world: things get names, religious and political beliefs are taken, science and culture develop.
    The majority of people consider poetry as something “uplifted from the ground”, therefore somehow torn away from Orbis Secundus as well. It is in some sense, and we have to admit – in many cases – it is a phenomenon of Orbis Tertius. But good poetry and other arts are bound with invisible tethers to the First world painted by our senses. Can poetry bring us for a moment at least to a more real life? Is it her mission? Does she work this way spontaneously or are her actions deliberate? Or maybe this is more a prerogative of philosophy and religions? Teachers of various religious practices for several thousand years have offered us “real” lives. Some of them are sincere, some not, and on following them we often find ourselves merely in another dream.
    Our life gets more and more virtual. Contemporary information technologies easily create appearances of all kinds that intrude upon our lives uncontrollably. Television entertains with all kinds of reality shows, delivering a crude socialization of ribaldry into the public-cultural space. Traditional culture is pushed to the side in the minds of people by means of global soap operas created by forgers of the reality. I’m not sure if Borges would have admitted these into his Orbis Tertius, whose reality was created in a more intellectual and more radical way. The forging of reality is not just a game to occupy leisure time. There are goods and money, politics and economics, education and culture, there are destinies of people that depend on a fake reality that is taken for the true one. What role in this opera is left for poets? Something third-rate, of course. But how do they imagine their own role in this? Do they fake reality as well, or do they try to destroy with their cries the walls of these fictitious Jerichos?

The program in Druskininkai and in Vilnius will change a little: most of the traditional activities will take place: two poetry evenings, the presentation of books published during the year, the presentation of work by guests from abroad in Vilnius in St. Catherine’s Church, and the post-festival evening in the Užupis Café.  Friday night’s readings will take place in Širdelė. We’ll try to organize this reading like a reality show: young poets in one space and the rest of participants who will read their poems from time to time in another. Communication between these spaces will be by TV.
We are going to commemorate the 20th anniversary of the democratic movement Sąjūdis and the 15th anniversary of the exit of Soviet troops by reviving The Cupboard Theatre on Saturday morning in the Dainava Courtyard. We are going to collaborate on a common project with “Books from Lithuania” and “Literature Across Frontiers” from Wales: five European and five Lithuanian poets will translate each other’s poems into their languages. Their work will be presented on Saturday at the 16.00 h. readings. The closing Saturday night readings will be in the manner of Carnival, and therefore everybody is kindly asked to have a mask.
We anticipate the following anonymous contests: a single poem; “A poem by an Other”; and the humorous: parody poem. Participants who would like to take part in “A poem by an Other” should submit a poem written in the style of another poet and signed with this poet’s name. The jury will evaluate two aspects of the submitted work: how the poem responds the style of a named author and is it a poem at all. Direct re-makes will not be considered.


October 2. Thursday
Arrival of our foreign guests in Vilnius.
17.30  Departure of foreign guests to Druskininkai from the Writers Club, Vilnius, K.Sirvydo 6.
20.00  Dinner. Café “Širdelė” in Druskininkai.

October 3.
8.30 Departure of participants from Vilnius, Lithuanian Writers‘ Union, K.Sirvydo 6.
11.00 Registration of participants. Druskininkai, Centre Dainava, Maironio St. 16.
13.00 Lunch.
13.00 Lessons in creative writing at Atgimimas and  Rytas High Schools (parallel).
14.00 Opening of the festival. Discussion: Poetry: Strolls in the Orbis Tertius or Steps Towards Reality? Dainava, Main Hall.
16.00 Coffee break.
16.30 Continuation of the discussion.
18.30 Dinner.
19.00 Poetry readings and auction of poets’ manuscripts. Dainava, Main Hall.
21.00 Two reality shows for the price of one: Readings by Young Lithuanian Poets and Night of One Poem. Café „Širdelė“.

October 4. Saturday
9.00 – 10.00 Breakfast.
11.00 Poetic performances in Dainava courtyard: The Cupboard Theatre.
13.00 Lunch.
14.00 Presentation of DPF anthology and other books. Dainava Main Hall. Mini Book Fair in the Dainava Library.
16.00 Presentation of the work by participants of the Translators’ Workshop. Moderators:
Alexandra Büchler and Aušrinė Jonikaitė. Centre Dainava Main Hall.
18.30 Dinner.
19.00 Final poetry evening. Presentation of the Jotvingiai Prize and other prizes.
Centre Dainava, Main Hall.
21.00 Poetry night: competitions and performances: Other Face. Centre Dainava restaurant.

October 5. Sunday
9.00 – 11.00 Breakfast.
12.00 Departure to Vilnius.
18.00 Readings by DPF guests and winners of prizes. St. Catherine’s Church. Vilnius St. 30.
20.00 Dinner. Closing of the Festival.

October 6.
17.00  After-festival poetry readings in Užupis Café. Moderator Antanas A.Jonynas.  Republic of Užupis.

<> Anonymous Competitions:
For one anonymous poem;
“A poem by an Other”;
parody poem.

DPF Board of Experts:
Kornelijus Platelis (chairman), Antanas A. Jonynas (vice-chairman), Andrius Mosiejus (treasurer), Gerardo Beltrán (Mexico), Gintaras Bleizgys, Vladas Braziūnas, Erika Drungytė, Leszek Engelking (Poland), Antanas Gailius, Sigitas Geda, Liudvikas Jakimavičius, Donaldas Kajokas, Laurynas Katkus, Kerry Shawn Keys, Liana Ruokytė, Zenonas Streikus, Marijus Šidlauskas, Ričardas Šileika, Antanas Šimkus, Alvydas Šlepikas, Jonas Zdanys, Agnė Žagrakalytė.

Asociation „Druskininkai Poetic Fall”, Lithuanian P.E.N Centre, Centre „Dainava”.

Culture Endowment Fund of the Republic of Lithuania; Ministry of Culture of the Republic of Lithuania; Culture Ireland; Irish Literary Exchange; the Embassy of Austria in Vilnius; “Books from Lithuania”; “Literature Across Frontiers”; Ministry of Foreign Affairs and Cooperation of Spanish Kingdom; the Embassy of Spanish Kingdom in Vilnius; Polish Institute in Vilnius; San Francisco State University; AB “Alita”; Centre “Dainava”; Druskininkai Municipality; weekly “Literatūra ir menas”; “Tobis”; “Drusva”; “Druskininkų Rasa.”

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Poetinis Druskininkų Ruduo / Druskininkai Poetic Fall