Ramunė Brundzaitė

Vilnius, Lithuania

Ramunė Brundzaitė was born in 1988 in Vilnius, where she obtained a Bachelor‘s degree in Lithuanian Philology and the Italian language and the Master‘s degree in Intermedial Literature Studies at Vilnius University. In 2013 she won in the contest of the First Book held by the Lithuanian Association for Writers. Her first collection of poetry titled Drugy, mano drauge was awarded the Young Yotving’s prize during the Druskininkai Poetic Fall festival and later she received the prize of the Mayor of Vilnius for her works on Vilnius. She lived and studied in Udine (Italy) for half a year. She is writing for cultural press, translating and teaching Italian. Currently she is having a graduate internship in Italy, at the museums of writers Italo Svevo and James Joyce.

 

The first poetry book by Ramunė Brundzaitė titled “Drugy, mano drauge” (Butterfly, My Friend) was published at a similar time when a member of the then marginal Nationalist Party accessed justice claiming for the pre-trial investigation on whether no national symbols were desecrated during a performance by Brundzaitė and two other performers. The artists received political attention due to their mirror version of the Lithuanian anthem where masculine words were replaced with the female gender.  Upon the scandal of the freedom of expression, the artists were invited to popular TV shows with regard to the quality and purpose of their performance and the absurd accusations were discussed in public as well as in closed societies; finally, the case was rejected by the court and the story was forgotten. 
This has been the most radical performance by the poet so far which has accidentally shocked the public. The rhythm of her book “Drugy, mano drauge” (Butterfly, My Friend) is different as it has integrated naturally in the literary field, without causing any confrontations among readers. For instance, Literary Critic Neringa Butnoriūtė has commented on the book: “In the debut ‘Drugy, mano drauge’ (Butterfly, My Friend) Brundzaitė has expressed poetry at her voice freed from the intellectual layer of meanings artificially imposed on the reality. It is perhaps for this reason that this poetry reminds that nourishing things seem to be revealed accidentally from the universe of the author who has taken over the role of observer from the wonderer. Even if “Moteris, besiskutanti kojas” (A Woman Shaving Her Legs) is, according to a lecturer, a topic not proper for poetry, the author will decide the opposite and not only will she play with the topic, but also she will write a poem worth including into a collection.” However, it is not the case where the poet is consciously rebelling, thus choosing shocking themes that deal with the forms of sexuality. Everything comes naturally, as if no efforts were made to prove something and it is attempted to talk about yourself and your experiences instead. 
When commenting on her poems, Brundzaitė has said in one of her interviews: “Writing is a therapy because it makes me understand what is going on with me. Many things are revealed and it becomes easier. I have no diary as it is replaced for me by poems. However, I cannot write about all experiences. I do not want my text to be banal. Distance and time are needed for creation”. This is perfectly demonstrated by her private but moderate speaking, which is, however, not too open, in her poem “Tikra vieno pasaulio istorija” (The Truth History of One World), for instance: - nothing bad about it, I say, nothing bad about it / it is so madly green this spring, / there’s so much bloom that in my womb / tares sprout and blossom out / with trees / such bright stars of the operating room / and the only desire as I fall / to a viscous emptiness of the consciousness  - - - / and suddenly I breathe again / the last image before I open / my eyes - an almond of our garden, blooming / - how are you? / / - I had a dream of spring, - I say / yet not freed from threads of narcosis, / wrapped with creepers of drains, as the drops of my soul / reach my body from the drip”. 
If one had to describe the topics that are most important for the author, Vilnius would come first to one’s mind where the poet lives, reads experiences of other writers and analyses the poetics of the city in her literary studies.  Italian cities are also important for her as she starts missing her home city there and she starts missing Italy while in Vilnius, as she writes. Although her erotic texts are filled with melancholy, the sense of loss and longing, all subjects addressed do not seem to be as important as writing which constitutes the main self of the lyrical subject. Even the beloved one addressed is not that important because: “I do not want your children / it is poems that are desired (...) and yet / I love poetry / more than I love you”. 
The poet herself has described her first book as follows: “I try to tame a butterfly, proserpinus proserpina (the Latin name for a willow herb hawkmoth), as if it were my friend.  My whole book is probably an attempt to tame the temporariness, the constant cycle of life and death as well as paradoxes of life. As written in the final text, “butterfly, / my friend // our day is just a little / longer than yours // we end up with worms, / you are born from worms // as you unfold / like flower out of our shame (...)”
The debut of Ramunė Brundzaitė was noticed and appreciated; she has now started to not only write poetry but also write essays as well as to translate. Both readers and critics are looking forward to the second book of the writer; it is always curious and slightly timorous to think which direction the further paths of creation will take. Especially when the first book is solid and awarded, thus raising the threshold. 


Jurga Tumasonytė