30 September 2019

Who writes my poem?

Lina Buividavičiūtė

“Who writes my poem?” – a discussion moderated by Lina Buividavičiūtė will be held in Aušrinė Hall, October 4, 14:00. Participants: Jurgita Jasponytė, Giedrė Kazlauskaitė, Gytis Norvilas, Kornelijus Platelis.


I now see just how miry and dangerous this topic is in its own peculiar way, and I take my cue from certain episodes recorded in the footage of Druskininkai Poetic Fall festivals. Mindaugas Nastaravičius, himself a contributor to the idea of this topic, when asked who (or what) is writing his poem, expresses doubt, unsure as to whether “we picked a proper topic for this.” But after a silent pause, he eventually reassures us (and himself, too): “it’s proper.” As to the question, he answers laconically, but, I believe, accurately – his poem is written by experience. I then begin to question the very concept of experience. But I will refer to this later. I only speculate how much content can one short reply hide, and how many times and in what various ways can it be turned over and interpreted. In any case, just as Mindaugas said – I consider the topic a good one. His pause was very telling, too. The (slight) confusion of the many poets who were asked this was also telling. Because another short reply, “my poem is written by Me,” again, may hide a lot of content if we dare to ask ourselves, who is this Me? The aforementioned experience, intellectual constructs, tradition, a resistance to tradition, a collective consciousness, a higher power? And maybe it really is easier to see the speck of sawdust in your brother’s eye than to admit that the identity of Your author and your text still hides the construct of a genius, once so admired by the romantics? And what if (let us look for specks of sawdust in the moderator’s eyes, too) the poems become so entangled with the writer’s identity that we are not sure anymore where therapy begins and literature ends? Can non-literary motivations “write” literature? And if so, how does it impact the quality of literature?

Nevertheless, many things are still dictated by good old literary theory, from the abovementioned genius and an almost ecstatic creative spree to theories of post-structuralism. The open text (Umberto Eco), and the death of the author (Roland Barthes), the author’s intention and the meaning of the text (New Criticism), the real author and the implied author (Wayne Booth) – I believe that these theories have been and still are influential not only in prose. They are also influential now, in terms of considering what comprises and determines the literariness of my work. And maybe, after determining what comprises the literariness of this Me poem, it will also become easier to interpret the identity of who’s writing it? But what is the relationship between literariness and tradition with regard to the manner of writing that exists in our time? Is that the reason why, when one writes, they inevitably become ensnared in tradition, in the peculiar “trap” of what is considered fashionable in that epoch? Or, conversely, does this determine that one resists it and writes so that the literariness of their text holds nothing in common with the general trends of their period? And what about the divergence between daily discourse and poetic speaking – especially now, seeing that the dust of daily life and the valleys of physiology are increasingly often being included in the written poem? And to speak generally, are we able at all to distance ourselves completely from how things were written in the past; from how things are written now? Were the Four Winds successful in doing this? Are the slammers and the creators of experimental poetry successful in doing this? Yes, I see now – this topic runs deep. And that’s good.

But today I invite different and interesting poets to attend my discussion. In reading their texts, and while disregarding any differences, can we define the general literariness of this poetic epoch? Perhaps we can speak of some common literariness that belongs to a single generation of poems? Maybe then we will be successful in determining who is writing our poems? Or maybe we’ll just agree that attempting to cram everything into a single coop is nonsense? I expect live nerve, a few drops of blood, and a whole lot of space for interpretation and self-comprehension.




Lietuvos kultūros taryba
Lietuvos Respublikos kutūros ministerija
EU: Creative Europe