The eleventh Druskininkai Poetic Fall took place during the warm and sunny days of October 6 to 8, 2000 and brought together more than 120 poets, translators, and critics from Lithuania and from other countries.

Guests from abroad were Eduards Aivars and Marts Pujats (Latvia), David Carrion (Spain), Craig Czury (USA), Manfred Chobot, Christian Loidl, and Philip Scheiner (Austria), Gerardo Beltran (Mexico), Ken Edwards (England), Jan-Pierre Faye (France), Leszek Engelking, Jacek Posialdo, Kristyna Rodowska, Isabela Korybut-Daszkiewicz, and Zuzana Jaroskiewicz (Poland), Lars Mikael Raattamaa (Sweden), Sergej Zavialov (Russia); Lithuanian authors living abroad Kazys Almenas and Eglė Juodvalkė (USA), and Lidija Šimkutė (Australia); and Alicija Rybalko, who lives in Germany and writes in Polish.

The theme of the conference was "Addresser and Addressee: Epistolary Rudiments." The discussion examined several issues: rudiments in literature of an author's direct relationship with particular individuals, and whether writers actually engaged in such relationships and why. How the epistolary genre in literature and in life is changing, given the evolution of new communications technologies. And, whether behind the writing, for everyone and for no one, loom the faces of near and distant people. The discussion was led by Bronys Savukynas and Marijus Šidlauskas; the principal discussion paper was presented by Kęstutis Nastopka; and discussants included Vytautas P. Bložė, Sigitas Geda, Liudvikas Jakimavičus, Eglė Juodvalkė, Mykolas Katkus, Kornelijus Platelis, Alicija Rybalko, and Sergej Zaviolov. The conference included an interesting exhibit of literary letters. Letters on linen by Rimvydas Pupelis from Obeliai extended beyond the exhibit in the grand hall of the Dainava Centre and were displayed on the park's trees.

Laurynas Katkus and Gintaras Grajauskas led the poetry evening on Friday. Actress Olita Dautartaitė read poems by Donaldas Kajokas and other readers were Lidija Šimkutė, Christian Loidl, Ken Edwards, Vladas Braziūnas, Lars Mikael Raattamaa, Tautvyda Marcinkevičiūtė, Eduard Aivars, Marts Pujats, Alicija Rybalko, and Alis Balbierius. The night readings by young poets were led by Benediktas Januševičius, and reading their works were Tomas S. Butkus, Rimantas Kmita, Laurynas Katkus (third prize), Dalia Jazukevičiūtė, Darius Šimonis, Liudvikas Jakimavičius (third prize), Dainius Gintalas, Marius Burokas (second prize), Renata Radavičiūtė, Gytis Norvilas (first prize), Mykolas Katkus, Žilvinas Andriušis, and Kristina Apanavičiūtė.

Saturday began with the second annual renga session. This year it was decided not to keep to the Japanese canon but to write quatrains: each participant was asked to add four lines to the last two lines written by the preceding author. So the rules were somewhat more relaxed. Practice proved that disregard of the canon does not lead to good, certainly enough often, so we decided not to include here the fruits of that collective effort.

The presentation of books published during the year demonstrated that Vaga and the Lithuanian Writers' Union publishing house had worked hardest in the field. Also presented was the DPF almanac, published by Vaga and edited by Gintaras Bleizgys. Poetry readings after the opening of the literary letters exhibition were led by Ričardas Šileika and included Sergej Zavialov, Manfred Chobot, Kristyna Rodowska, Jan-Pierre Faye, and David Carrion.

The formal final evening of poetry was led by Sigitas Geda and Almanatas Samalavičius. First, the year's laureates were announced. The sixteenth Jotvingiu Prize was awarded to Alfonsas Bukontas for his volume The Fifth Season of the Year, translations of the Bhagavadgyta, Lev Karsavin's, and Moshe Kulbak's poetry, and the prize for the best debut volume of poetry was awarded to Gintaras Beresnevičius "for poetry in essay writing". Prizes were awarded by Arūnas Bėkšta, Minister of Culture, and by DPF Chairman Kornelijus Platelis. Next, the select jury committee (B. Savukynas, R. Baltrušaitytė, J. Riškutė, and M. Šidlauskas) announced the winners of this year's competitions. Winners of the competition for the best anonymous poem were Sergej Zavialov, Kornelijus Platelis, Dainius Gintalas, Liudvikas Jakimavičius, and Gintaras Grajauskas. Winners of the competition for a poem dedicated to a specific individual were Vladas Braziūnas, Martin Chobot and Gintaras Grajauskas with Rimantas Kmita. All of the winning poems were read by the winners. During that final evening, Craig Czury, Dovile Zelčiūtė, Philip Scheiner, Viktoras Rudžianskas, Jacek Posiadlo, and Danguole Juzeliūnaitė read from their works. The fruit of the collective renga writing was also presented.

The concluding night readings were led by Alvydas Šlepikas and Liudvikas Jakamavičius. Kornelijus Platelis expressed gratitude to the event's sponsors and organizers and presented them with copies of the DPF almanac, filled with the autographs of all of the participating authors. Wine and poetry poured out together, love was in the air, music played, couples danced, Jurgis Kunčinas rode through the audience on an inflatable bottle of Finlandia, and night gently overtook the world and the senses.

The Monday night readings at the Uzupis Café in Vilnius were also a success. In keeping with Liudvikas Jakimavicius' scenario, the event took place on the café's outdoor terrace though the autumn weather turned suddenly cold. All of the poets who had not yet left and who were not too exhausted participated. As they read, sculptor Mindaugas Snipas, using a small linden log he had brought from Druskininkai, with an ax hollowed out a small boat into which the senders placed the texts they had read (and Craig Czury his harmonica), a burning candle was put into the boat, and it was set adrift on the currents of the Vilnele (to that end, the author and executor of the idea waded into the water) to search for an unknown addressee. Is it not in a similar way that our poems billow away, float off on publication's waters?

Kornelijus Platelis
Translated by Jonas Zdanys

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