05 September 2019

The 30th Druskininkai Poetic Fall

The festival will take place during October 2–7 in the cities of Vilnius and Druskininkai.


This year will mark the 30th time that the international literary festival Druskininkai Poetic Fall will transpire. This time, the festival’s topic is framed thus – “Who writes my poem?” Previous festivals dealt with a number of topics, at times in a very searing manner: “Sound and Fury,” “Women and Men in Poetry: Limits of Imagination,” “Language and Coercion,” “Old Poetry in a New World,” “Images in Poetry,” “Poetry and Music” – these are just some of the topics used to provoke discussions about the conditions and trends in life and poetry, discuss the books published over the year, and view literature from the perspective of other arts.

The Festival was first organized in 1990, though poets would informally gather in Druskininkai well before that time. Kornelijus Platelis, the soul of the Festival, said of the origins of the event that “one could poetically state that it became of the natural landscape of Fall, the spirit of Čiurlionis, or the rivers of tea that we drank with Vytautas Bložė, Nijolė Miliauskaitė, Sigitas Geda, and other poets who find themselves in Druskininkai more often. […] To be precise, it must be said that it originated from an intense literary life of creating, contemplating, and construing texts, and from attempting to define their context.”

The festival hosts one of the most significant poetry awards in Lithuania – the Yotvingian and Young Yotvingian Prizes. The first Yotvingian Prize, awarded as part of the festival’s ceremony, was given to Henrikas Čigriejus, but the prize itself was established even before – it was originated by Sigitas Geda, and the first poet to be awarded was Kornelijus Platelis  for his poem The Yotvingian Prayer For Pouncing the Enemy. During the Soviet period, the prize amounted to 10 rubles. The Young Yotvingian Prize, given to any poet under the age of 35, was established in 1998.

Getting lost in the festival is hard – it follows a program defined by many years of tradition. The annual almanach is presented in Vilnius on Wednesday, and on Friday, the festival moves to Druskininkai and becomes located in the center Dainava, which hosts the festival’s topic discussion, poetry readings, children’s programs, evening events, discoes, secret readings, exhibitions, and the young poets’ evening. On Saturday, the readings of two poems – one’s own and the favorite of another poet – are held at the M. K. Čiurlionis memorial museum of.

On Sunday, the festival returns to Vilnius – the jazz evening and award ceremony for the festival’s guests, laureates, and anonymous contest winners has now for several years been taking place in the Contemporary Art Center’s reading room.

This year’s festival will arrive in Druskininkai in Thursday’s evening: at 20:00, the readings of Estonian, Latvian, and Lithuanian poets will take place in café Mūza, and the next morning, on Friday, poets will be able to meet the local high schoolers. We will invite the youngest readers to attend our events in the center Dainava at 11:00 on Friday. On Sunday, as the poets and other attendees will be returning back to Vilnius, a scheduled stop will be made in Merkinė, where respects will be paid to the bright memory of poet Stasys Stacevičius. Monday’s evening will be devoted to Alfonsas Nyka-Niliūnas.

This year will mark the 5th consecutive time that the Druskininkai Poetic Fall is part of the VERSOPOLIS platform. Versopolis is a European poetry platform that creates new opportunities for emerging poets. Fifteen European literary festivals belong to this platform. VERSOPOLIS provides the opportunity for Lithuanian poets to participate in foreign festivals and makes it possible for the Druskininkai Poetic Fall to host young poets from abroad. During these last years, the festival welcomed poets from Poland, Ukraine, Sweden, The United Kingdom, Belgium, France, Croatia, Slovenia, Slovakia, Italy, and North Macedonia. Thanks to VERSOPOLIS, a number of Lithuanian poets were able to participate in festivals held in the United Kingdom, Croatia, Slovenia, Slovakia, France, Poland, North Macedonia, Italy, Germany, Austria, and Belgium. Versopolis is supported by the European Commission’s Creative Europe programme. 

Throughout its 30-year run, the Druskininkai Poetic Fall hosted poets from all continents and many countries. This year, the festival will welcome visitors from our neighbor states – Poland (Natalia Malek and Jarosław Mikołajewski), Latvia (Semyon Khanin and Toms Treibergs), Estonia (Veronika Kivisilla), Ukraine (Katrina Haddad) – as well as other representatives: Belgium (Anna Ayanoglou), Turkey (Haydar Ergülen), The Netherlands (Nyk de Vries), The United Kingdom (Jacob Polley), Greece (Yorgos Alisanoglou and Georgia Trouli), Mexico (Gerardo Beltran), and Croatia (Monika Herceg). Our special guest is Vijay Seshadri, American poet and Pulitzer Prize Winner. Each year the festival is followed by its almanach, which this time will contain the works of these Lithuanian poets – Greta Ambrazaitė, Vaiva Grainytė, Almis Grybauskas, Kęstutis Navakas, Ernestas Noreika, and Violeta Palčinskaitė.

Festival is supported by Lithuanian Council for culture and by the European Commission’s Creative Europe programme.

More information on the festival and its poets





Lietuvos kultūros taryba
Lietuvos Respublikos kutūros ministerija
EU: Creative Europe