Echoes of the 27th Druskininkai Poetic Fall

Theme: Contemporary Poetry: Local and Global Contexts

The 27th Annual Druskininkai Poetic Fall (DPF) Festival took place October 5-10, 2016. Participants included the Lithuanian literary community together with international guests – poets, writers, literary critics, publishers, literary festival organizers, and representatives from various organizations.

The festival began with an evening of readings at the Mint Vinetu bookstore. Kornelijus Platelis, the chairman of the DPF’s board and the festival’s founder, was joined by Vytas Dekšnys and Vytautas Stankus, who compiled and edited the Almanac, translators, guests from abroad – R.V. Branham (United States), Alissa Valles (United States), Andrei Sen-Senkov (Russia), Jaromir Typlt (Czech Republic), Aurelia Lassaque (France) - a poet from the VERSOPOLIS project, and Lithuanian poets Ieva Gudmonaitė and Sara Poisson.

The principal poets whose work was also included in the DPF Almanac were: Yonatan Berg (Israel; translated by Kristina Gudelytė), R.V. Branham (United States; translated by Vytautas Stankus), Ieva Gudmonaitė (Lithuania; translated by Medeinė Tribinevičius), Lyuba Yakimchuk (Ukraine; translated by Marius Burokas), Étienne Lalonde (Canada; translated by Dainius Gintalas), Gvidas Latakas (Lithuania; translated by Medeinė Tribinevičius), Luljeta Lleshanaku (Albania; translated by Vytas Dekšnys), Nikola Madzirov (Macedonia; translated by Laima Masytė), Mathura (Estonia; translated by Danutė Sirijos Giraitė), Gytis Norvilas (Lithuania; translated by Rimas Užgiris), Sara Poisson (Lithuania; translated by Rimas Užgiris), Māris Salējs (Latvia; translated by Erika Drungytė), Andrei Sen-Senkov (Russia; translated by Antanas A. Jonynas), Svetimi (Lithuania; translated by Rimas Užgiris), Natasha Tiniacos (Venezuela; translated by Jurga Katkuvienė, Laurynas Katkus), Jaromír Typlt (Czech Republic; translated by Aigustė Vykantė Bartkutė and Vytas Dekšnys), Alissa Valles (United States; translated by Dominykas Norkūnas).

In 2015–2017, the Druskininkai Poetic Fall festival is part of the international poetry platform VERSOPOLIS. The theme of this project is Where poetry lives. The goal is to promote young poets and provide an opportunity for them to read their work outside of their own countries. In 2016, the following five poets from VERSOPOLIS were invited to DPF: Veronika Dintinjana (Slovenia; translated by Laima Masytė), Athena Farrokhzad (Sweden; translated by Zita Mažeikaitė), Tiziano Fratus (Italy; translated by Ramunė Brundzaitė), Aurélia Lassaque (France; translated by Dainius Gintalas), Julia Szychowiak (Poland; translated by Vytas Dekšnys). The work of each of these five poets was published in a separate trilingual (Lithuanian, English, and the original language) publication.

The festival’s program was full of events: two readings by poets featured in the Almanac, readings by festival participants, Lithuanian poets, new poets, and a presentation of favorite poems in Druskininai, at the Dainava center, and at the the M.K. Čiurlionis Memorial Museum. There were also three readings in Vilnius – a presentation of the Alamac at Mint Vinetu, a closing ceremony at the Contemporary Art Center, and a post-festival reading dedicated to Jurgis Kunčinas at a cafe in Užupis.

On Friday, a conference on the festival’s theme “Contemporary Poetry: Local and Global Contexts” took place moderated by Saulius Vasiliauskas and Laima Kreivytė, featuring poets Kornelijus Platelis, Marius Burokas, Rimas Užgiris, and international guests.

Just as it happens every year, a presentation of the DPF Almanac and recently published books, together with a small book fairs, was organized by Marius Burokas.

The festival’s traditional alternative events took place on Saturday morning: the gallery Sofa hosted the opening of Arūnas Vaitkus’s ex libiris exhibition entitled “Portretai” [Portraits]; “Hieroglifai” [Hieroglyphs], an exhibition of the work of Ričardas Šileika was showcased at the Boulangerie cafe; and the Small Gallery featured work by Rimvydas Pupelis.
A new event in 2016 was a program for the entire family called “The world, me, and poetry,” which was hosted by Vitalija Pilipauskaitė-Butkienė.

The poetry readings on Friday night were hosted by Ušulė Gedaitė and Alvydas Šlepikas and young poets readings were hosted by Ernestas Noreika, Mantas Balakauskas, Vytautas Stankus and Nerijus Cibulskas, which featured 11 young poets.

On Saturday, readings of favorite poems were led by Benediktas Januševičius at the M. K. Čiurlionis Memorial Museum. In the afternoon, the VERSOPOLIS poetry readings continued at the Bubilas hall, led by the project’s Lithuanian coordinator Rūta Elijošaitytė and by Rūta Kačkutė. Afterward, Lithuanian poets read their work, led by Dainius Gintalas and Ričardas Šileika.

On Saturday evening, poetry readings accompanied the closing ceremonies of the festival – this event was hosted by Laima Kreivytė and Gytis Norvilas.

During the closing ceremony of the festival, poet Eugenijus Ališanka was awarded the Yotvingian Prize for his 2016 poetry collection “Stuburo tik punktyrai” [Only the dotted lines of the spine]. Poet Nerijus Cibulskis was awarded the Young Yotvingian Prize for his book “Archeologija” [Archeology], published in 2016. The best young writer was also recognized – Marius Povilas Elijas Martynenko was awarded the Antanas A. Jonynas Prize.

Following the award ceremony, the anonymous poem contest winners were announced. The poems were written under the guise of three themes: one poem, “Context: 1930s” and a humorous poem “Context: Elections.” Saturday evening ended with readings and performances that were organized by Mindaugas Nastaravičius and Alvydas Šlepikas.

On Sunday, the festival continued in Vilnius where all of the DPF guests and awardees participated in a reading at the Contemporary Art Center, led by Indrė Valantinaitė and Eugenijus Ališanka. Later, guests enjoyed a presentation by Ukrainian performers Mark Tokar (contrabassist) and poet Liubov Jakimčiuk.
Monday evening, the traditional post-festival poetry reading took place, which was led by poet Antanas A. Jonynas and was dedicated to the work of Jurgis Kunčinas.


Translated by Ada Valaitis

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