Mindaugas Grigaitis , 2009 11 09

In brief: The question “what is poetry?” may seem funnily pretentious in the post-modern times of pastiche, paraphrases and irony. On another hand, this question is not so non-contemporary that it should be forgotten. New texts are still being created. All great ideas appear to be explored already, and it is not possible to say anything new. However, the unity of content and form or meaning and sound rather than content is the most important in poetry. Original sound may grant new colours to the exhausted content.

The title of the newest selection of poetry of Tautvyda Marcinkevičiūtė “K.E.LIONĖ“ (“T.R.IP”) seems to represent the search for new way of speaking about old things by its graphic view. The motif of “travelling” and "constant movement" is not new by itself; still, two letters separated from the word show that the trip is not only the moving ahead but also the attempt to overcome the gap between “myself” and another person. Is new sound found for traditional content in the entire selection?

It is attempted to destroy stereotypes of femininity present in the society and moral vices by poetical language in the selection. Willing to shed from herself all conventions suppressing a woman in the society, the poetess becomes a social critic. She criticises the industry of beauty that strives to turn all women into “misses”. Contests of beauty and mania for eroticism is mocked in poems.

The poetess also reproaches amateur poets who humiliate the spirit of poetry. Suppressed by daily duties, stereotypes, metaphysical fatigue and longing, the poetess wants to run to the world of authentic existence. Manifestations of higher existence is art, God and secret covering things.

The balancing between the world of compulsion, monotony and boredom and existence revitalising the spirit creates the tension; however, a feeling appears while travelling along the book that the existential drama does not crystallise into an original poetic voice. Listening to the quiet surrounding art and things, the poetess T.Marcinkevičiūtė tries to overcome the limits of subjective existence and to find the more universal existence; however, it seems that daily duties and gab of the world are so deeply enrooted in the soul and language that neither the soul nor things rise above the daily existence.

The felt but hardly described poetry of the selection “K.E.LIONĖ“ often turns into a sentimental reproach or moral to the world, which is not the way the lyrical persona would like it to be. It is not hard to understand what is stated in the selection; still, the dimension of original sound has not been created here. Such dialogue does not distance much from daily communication; therefore, it does not have much in common with art, unfortunately.

It is hard to answer the question “what is poetry?” It is also hard to establish its evaluation criteria. Any evaluation is not a final verdict; it is only the start of new conversation. The famous German romanticist Friedrich Hölderlin has written that speaking is a very dangerous activity. It is dangerous not only to poets but also to readers. Especially to the ones who dare evaluate poetry publicly. One remains in doubt while evaluating and writing – perhaps it is not the poet but it is you who have chosen the wrong route in the trip. The possibility for mistake is always close in cases when we confront language: both for the poet and the reader.


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