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DRUSKININKAI POETIC FALL 2001

Kornelijus Platelis


    DPF 2001 took place October 5-8. About 130 festival participants and guests from Lithuania and from abroad gathered together in Druskininkai. Guests from other countries included Dostena Anguelova-Lavergne (Bulgaria), Maria Baranda, Gerardo Beltran (Mexico), Uldis Bērziņš (Latvia), Craig Czury (USA), Leszek Engelking (Poland), Franciso Hinojosa (Mexico), Jerzy Jarniewicz (Poland), Kerry Shawn Keys (USA), Michel de Maulne (France), Carina Nynäs (Finland), Knut Ødegård (Norway), Iztok Osojnik, Andrej Rozman (Slovenia), Karlis Vērdiņš (Latvia), Bernhard Widder (Austria), Stephen Watts (England), and Sergei Zavyalov (Russia). Lithuanians living abroad who participated include Vyt Bakaitis, Kornelijus Jazbutis, Eglė Juodvalkė, Algimantas Kezys, and Arūnas Kulikauskas from the United States and Lidija Šimkutė from Australia.

    The theme of the conference was "Poetry and Photography: Two Languages, Two Approaches." The art of photography was a guest at DPF. Dr. Kęstutis Nastopka moderated the discussions, in which participated Uldis Bērziņš, Vytautas P. Bložė, Rasa Čergeliene, Erika Drungytė, Leszek Engelking, Sigitas Geda, Algimantas Kezys, Kornelijus Platelis, Bronys Savukynas, Vytautas Stanionis, Stephen Watts, Gintaras Žilys, and Algimantas Žižiunas.

    Eglė Juodvalkė and Jurgis Kunčinas served as masters of ceremony for the first evening of poetry. Readers included Eugenijus Ališanka, Dostena Anguelova-Lavergne, Vyt Bakaitis, Uldis Bērziņš, Maria Baranda, Antanas A. Jonynas, Liudvikas Jakimavičius, Knut Ødegård, and Sigitas Geda.

    The readings by younger poets, which were led by Benediktas Januševičius, as always took place in the Širdelė Café. The committee that judged all of the contests that evening (which consisted of Bronys Savukynas, Vigmantas Butkus, Kęstutis Nastopka, Janina Riškutė, and Gražina Gedienė) suggested that prizes be awarded to Rimvydas Stankevičius (for his poetry), Eglė Peredenytė (for controlling the audience), and Julius Žėkas (for his shamanistic powers). Jurgis Kunčinas was awarded a special prize, created by artist Danielius Ramelis, for humorous lines that earned the special consideration of the audience.

    Saturday morning began with the opening of the Rimvydas Pupelis exhibit in the Small Gallery, and afterwards everyone made their way to Druskonis Lake, on which floated the locally built raft "Imperial." On board climbed several poets writing in different languages, captain Zenonas Streikus, his deputy for poetry Kornelijus Platelis, tillerman Liudvikas Jakimavičius, motorists (the raft was powered by foot pedals) Kęstutis Bielukas and Vytautas Butvilas-Mažylis, and the principal participant French actor Michel de Maulne - and the poetic performance "The Drunken Boat" began. The raft slowly floated toward the shore on which listeners had gathered and Michel de Maulne began to read Arthur Rimbaud's "The Drunken Boat," pausing before reaching the end, during which pause each of the poets read in his own language; when they stopped, Michel completed his reading of the work. After that, Eugenijus Ališanka demonstrated his own version of "The Drunken Boat" by jumping into the water, which was quite cold, and swimming around the raft. Then the "Imperial," resonating with Leszek Engelking's and Gerardo Beltr?n's poetry, slowly floated back toward its dock. After visiting photographer Zenonas Baltrušis' exhibition in the Druskininkai Museum, the poets returned to the Dainava courtyard, where the Renga session and the arranged photography contest were set to begin.

   The Renga was written by 32 poets in the classical style. It turned out not too badly. About the same number participated in the directed photography contest. 

    After lunch, in the large Dainava auditorium, books published during the year were presented and publishers and bookstores offered new and earlier-published works for sale. This year, the Lithuanian Writers' Union Publishing House and Vaga published the largest number of books. Antanas A. Jonynas, serving as master of ceremonies for the presentation, named the Druskininkai Poetic Fall 2001 Almanac, which had been edited by Kornelijus Platelis and published by Vaga, as the most important book of the session.

    Janina Riskute, editor-in-chief of Vaga, said that the year's harvest was more modest than in the past, but added that she had published both almanacs: for The Spring of Poetry and for the Poetic Fall. Vaga also recently published One Baliukone's The Gardens of the Blind, Justinas Kubilius' collection of poetry Father: Forms of Anxiety, Danute Paulauskaite's book Together with the House, and Jonas Strielkunas' The Past Century.

 

    The largest number of books since the last Poetic Fall was published by the Writers' Union Publishing House, which earned the title of Poetry Publisher of the Year. Valentinas Sventickas, editor-in-chief, said that so long as poetry was being written, published, and read, it was worth living. He presented the just-published volume by Sigitas Geda, Socrates Talks with the Wind. It is the first book in the new series "Works by Laureates of the National Prize." He also presented Algirdas Verba's posthumous volume The Butterfly's Chattering (compiled by Valdemaras Kukulas) and Darius Šimonis' Birch Switch In the "First Book" series were published Renata Radavičiūtė's Crosswind and Dainius Sobeckis' Without Place Names. The bilingual anthology Living Breath, edited and translated by Vyt Bakaitis, looked impressive. One other bilingual book also was presented - Liudvikas Jakimavičius' Wooden. V. Sventickas rejoiced that the full printings of Judita Vačiūnaitė's final volume Ark of Clouds and Aidas Marčėnas' Worn were completely sold out. Aleksander Lysov's collection COPOKODYM was published in Russian. Two volumes about poetry also appeared: Viktorija Daujotytė's Essay About Poetry and Being and Eugenijus Ališanka's Dionysus' Return.

    The publishing house Vario Burnos from Klaipėda presented five small books. Of them, publisher Tomas S. Butkus singled out for the audience's special attention Vytautas P. Bložė's poem Emptiness. Tautvyda Marcinkevičiūtė together with the audience rejoiced in her volume Street Musicians, which arrived just a few hours before the presentation and which was published by Alma Littera. 

   Immediately after the presentation, the exhibition of poets who took photographs and photographers who wrote poetry (or who were connected to literary activity in some other way) officially began; it was accompanied by readings of their respective works. Masters of ceremonies for the event were Laimantas Jonušys and Ričardas Šileika. Michel de Maulne began the session, reading lines by Blaise Cendrars. Also reading were Alis Balbierius, Arūnas Kulikauskas, Antanas Stanevičius, Ričardas Šileika, Sergei Zavyalov, and Craig Czury. Displaying their works in the exhibit were Algimantas Aleksandravičius, Vyt Bakaitis, Zenonas Baltrušis, Vytautas Butvilas-Mažylis, Arūnas Kulikauskas, Vida Kuprytė, Remigijus Pačėsa, Rimvydas Pupelis, Romualdas Rakauskas, Antanas Stanevičius, Ričardas Šileika, Vilma Šileikienė, Gintaras Žilys, and Algimantas Žižiūnas. After the poetry readings, winners of the directed photography contest were announced (the jury consisted of Rimantas Kvaraciejus, Ričardas Šileika, and Gintaras Žilys). They lined up in the following order: artist R. Bielskis, actress Olita Dautartaitė, and poet Vladas Braziūnas. Runner-up prizes were awarded to poets Antanas A. Jonynas and Iztok Osojnik and to photographer Algimantas Žižiūnas.

    The most formal moment of the Druskininkai Poetic Fall is the final evening of poetry, for which the largest audience gathers and during which is announced the winner of the Jotvingiai Prize, the Prize for the Best Poetic Debut is presented, and the winners of contests are declared. The Jotvingiai Prize, for his volume Praėjęs amžius (The Past Century), was awarded to Jonas Strielkūnas. The Prize for Best Debut was given to Tomas S. Butkus for his collection Mylintis organizmas (Loving Organism) and for his publishing initiatives.

    Winners of the anonymous competition lined up as follows: Finnish poet Carina Nynäs (translated by Liana Ruokytė and Sigitas Geda), Viktoras Rudžianskas, Eugenijus Ališanka, Elena Karnauskaitė, and Kornelijus Platelis. Winners of the contest for the most photogenic poem (also anonymous) were Viktoras Rudžianskas, Paulina Žemgulytė, and Vladas Braziūnas.

    In addition to winners of the contests, several guests also read their works during the evening: Jerzy Jarniewicz, Carina Nynäs, Karlis Vērdiņš, Iztok Osojnik, Bernhard Widder, and Stephen Watts. Authors who had participated in the Renga session also read their collective multilingual poem.

    The last readings during the night were led by Liudvikas Jakimavičius and Jurgis Kunčinas. Prize winners for the most photogenic (humorous) poem were also announced: Antanas Zališčevskis, Jurgita Butkytė and Ričardas Šileika. The evening began with a video-letter to the Druskininkai Poetic Fall from Jonas Mekas, brought from the United States by Arūnas Kulikauskas. Jonas Mekas' words were notable: "The television talks of war, revenge, and nothing about the fall, rain, friendship…" There was no rain in Druskininkai this year; the sun shined.

    Reading their works during the traditional Monday evening at the Uzupis Café were Carina Nynäs, Viktoras Rudžianskas, Bernhard Widder, Stephen Watts, Knut Ødegård, Craig Czury (who also played his harmonica), Kerry Shawn Keys, Gerardo Beltran, Maria Baranda, Francisco Hinojosa, Sergei Zavyalov, Vladas Braziūnas, Eglė Juodvalkė, and Vyt Bakaitis.

    On a rock brought from Druskininkai the poets each wrote a line, sculptor Mindaugas Šnipas carved the DPF symbol, and the stone letter to a Trout was thrown into the Vilnelė river, so that it would become an anchor for last year's boat, which had already floated off to places unknown.

    Translated by Jonas Zdanys

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Poetinis Druskininkų Ruduo / Druskininkai Poetic Fall