XXVIII Druskininkai Poetic Fall, Echoes of 2017

Theme: Women and Men in Poetry: Limits of Imagination

The 27th Annual Druskininkai Poetic Fall (DPF) Festival took place October 4-8, 2017. Just as in years prior, participants included the Lithuanian literary community and an especially large contingent of international guests: poets, writers, literary critics, publishers, literary festival organizers, and representatives from various organizations.

The principal participants whose work was also included in the DPF Almanac were: Mantas Balakauskas (Lithuania; translated by Medeinė Tribinevičius), Malachi Black (United States; translated by Vytautas Stankus), Dalia Bozytė (Lithuania; translated by Rimas Užgiris), Marius Burokas (Lithuania; translated by Rimas Užgiris), Nerijus Cibulskas (Lithuania; translated by Rimas Užgiris), Ron Dahan (Israel; translated by Kristina Gudelytė), Marco Fazzini (Italy; translated by Ramunė Brundzaitė), Kristian Guttesen (Iceland; translated by Jurgita Marija Abraitytė), Ishion Hutchinson (Jamaica, United States; translated by Marius Burokas), Riota Jamada (Japan; translated by Vytautas Dumčius), Dmitry Kuzmin (Latvia; translated by Benediktas Januševičius), Aidas Marčėnas (Lithuania; translated by Rimas Užgiris), Janina Osewska (Poland; translated by Birutė Jonuškaitė), Ryan Van Winkle (United Kingdom; translated by Dominykas Norkūnas), Yury Zavadsky (Ukraine; translated by Vytas Dekšnys), Agnė Žagrakalytė (Lithuania; translated by Ada Valaitis).

In 2015–2017, the Druskininkai Poetic Fall festival was part of the international poetry platform VERSOPOLIS. And the project has been extended for four more years – through 2021. The theme of VERSOPOLIS is “Where Poetry Lives”. Its goal is to promote young poets and provide an opportunity for them to read their work outside of their own countries. In 2017, the following five poets from VERSOPOLIS were invited to DPF: Tomica Bajsič (Croatia; translated by Laima Masytė), Katja Gorečan (Slovenia; translated by Laima Masytė), Barbara Klicka (Poland; translated by Vytas Dekšnys), Hannah Lowe (United Kingdom; translated by Dominykas Norkūnas), Afrodita Nikolova (Macedonia; translated by Laima Masytė). 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 Anthology, readings by the other festival participants, Lithuanian poets, young poets, and a presentation of favorite poems in Druskininkai, at the Dainava center, and at the M.K. Čiurlionis Memorial Museum. There were also two readings in Vilnius – a presentation of the Anthology at the club Paviljonas and the closing ceremony at the Contemporary Art Center, as well as engagements with youth and children.

On Friday morning, international and Lithuanian poets went to meet with students in schools in Druskininkai. Later, after the Festival’s flag was raised, a conference on the festival’s theme “Women and Men in Poetry: Limits of Imagination” took place, moderated by Virginija Cibarauskė and featuring Laima Kreivytė, Natalija Arlauskaitė, Aušra Kaziliūnaitė, Gintaras Bleizgys, and international guests. Just as it happens every year, there was a presentation of the DPF Anthology and recently published books, together with a small book fair, organized by Marius Burokas. The photography of Polish guest Janina Osewska was also exhibited. Friday night’s readings were moderated by Neringa Butnoriūtė and Andrius Jakučiūnas, and the young poets’ reading was moderated by Donatas Petrošius.

We kicked off Saturday morning with a sports competition, though admittedly there weren’t many who participated… Later, Tomas Dirgėla, Ramunė Brundzaitė, and Antanas Šimkus interacted with youth and children. Then, there was a reading at the M.K. Čiurlionis Memorial Museum that focused on two poems – a favorite poem by another poet followed by one’s own poem – which was hosted by Ričardas Šileika and Dainius Gintalas. The VERSOPOLIS project poet’s reading took place at the Bubilas hall, led by the project’s Lithuanian coordinator Rūta Elijošaitytė-Kaikarė and poet Marko Pogačar, who is the organizer of the Goran’s Spring Festival in Croatia. Afterward, Lithuanian poets read their work during a session entitled “Locals Read, Strangers Lead”, hosted by Dainius Gintalas and Liutauras Leščinskas. On Saturday evening, the formal closing ceremonies took place, which featured the presentation of the Yotvingian and the Young Yotvingian prizes and the various award ceremonies. The evening was moderated by Agnė Žagrakalytė and Edgaras Platelis.

During the closing ceremony, Gytis Norvilas was awarded the Yotvingian Prize for his book Grimzdimas [Sinking], published in 2017. And poet Vytautas Stankus was awarded the Young Yotvingian Prize for his 2016 collection entitled Skruzdžių skandinimas [Drowning of the Ants]. The best young poet was also recognized – Greta Ambrazaitė was awarded the Antanas A. Jonynas Prize. And the inaugural prize established by the cultural publication Nemunas was awarded to Benediktas Januševičius.

At the end of the award ceremony, the anonymous poem contest winners were announced. The poems were written under the guise of three themes: one poem, “Me, he/she me and…”, and a humorous poem: “Love needs a lover.” The evening ended with a concert by the group Station and sets by DJ Uršulė and DJ Alvydas.

On Sunday, the festival continued in Vilnius where all of the DPF guests and awardees participated in a reading at the Contemporary Art Center, moderated by Indrė Valantinaitė and Kornelijus Platelis. This was followed by a jazz performance by Kerry Shawn Keys and the Nada Quartet (Liudas Mockūnas, Dmitrij Golovanov, Eugenijus Kanevičius).


Translated by Ada Valaitis

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