News

/ 1 October 2020

Yotvingian Laureates and Belarusian Symbols in This Year’s Druskininkai Poetic Fall Festival

Next week marks the beginning of the annual 31st international Druskininkai Poetic Fall, which begins on October 7. We anticipate the occasion by announcing the laureates of the Yotvingian and Young Yotvingian Awards. By decision of the award committee, this year’s Yotvingian Award goes to Alvydas Šlepikas for his book Mano tėvas žūsta, (Lithuanian Writers’ Union Publishing House2019), Young Yotvingian Award goes to Ieva Toleikytė for her book Raudonas slidus rūmas (Lithuanian Writers’ Union Publishing House, 2020)

The Yotvingian and Young Yotvingian laureates will receive their awards during the Druskininkai Poetic Fall festival, which will take place in Druskininkai, Dainava center, on October 10, 19:00.

1354: Are You One of Them?

The theme of this year’s Druskininkai Poetic Fall is “1354.” According to poet Hans Magnus Enzensberger, it denotes the constant number of poetry readers. Regardless of the total number of people living in any given country, it contains 1354 readers of poetry. Thus, this year’s theme is focused on the readers, listeners, and critics of poetry, as well as the buyers and collectors of poetry books.

On Friday, October 9, we will delve into the relevance of poetry in a discussion organized by Virginija Cibarauskė: why do people read poetry, and why are poetry books published? Who is the reader of poetry in Lithuania and in the world? Are the 1354 readers of poetry somehow unique? Ernestas Noreika, laureate of last year’s Young Yotvingian Award, writes in the introduction to this year’s anthology: “It is possible to view the reader of poetry as somebody given a very special gift, because the wish to understand a complex cosmos of words rests on the borders with the paranormal.”

This year’s Druskininkai Poetic Fall anthology, which we will present on Wednesday, October 7 at the Kazys Varnelis House-Museum, will contain poems from both Lithuanian and foreign authors. It will contain translated verses by Jerome Rothenberg, one of the most illustrious contemporary American poets, Arthur Sze, laureate of the 2015 Pulitzer Prize and the 2019 U.S. National Book Award, and Columbian author Piedad Bonnet, recipient of the principal poetry awards of the Spanish-speaking. The anthology will introduce its readers to contemporary Estonian, Latvian, Polish, and Beglian poetry. For the sixth consecutive year, it will present four poets from the VERSOPOLIS platform. We are sad to announce that many of this year’s foreign poets will engage us only from beyond their screens, but we will see and hear the Lithuanian authors included in this anthology: Antanas A. Jonynas, Enrika Striogaitė, Ieva Toleikytė, Tomas Venclova.

On Monday, October 12, we will commemorate poet Henrikas Radauskas with a special closing evening “White Mills Milling Time,” which will take place at the Lithuanian Theater, Music and Cinema Museum.

This year’s program includes all of the traditional events that take place during the festival: the presentation and selling of books published during the year, exhibition openings, the Poetic Night, during which young poets will read their works, two-poem contests, poetry readings, and Saturday night’s event, which will take place outside near a bonfire.

Belarusian symbols are an integral part of this year’s festival. Throughout the festival’s long history, many Belarusian poets participated in its readings: Valyantsina Aksak, Uladzimir Arlou, Andrej Khadanovich, Miroslav Adamchik, and others. All of this year’s events will begin with a reading of a single Belarusian poem, chosen and translated by each moderator.