Mindaugas Grigaitis
www.kamane.lt , 2008 06 28 


In brief: Almanacs of the Poetry Spring a criticised more and more severely: for low quality of works, for vague concept, low number of readers, protection of friends. Up till now the compilers and publishers swallowed bitter critique silently. However, something happened this year – Kaunas Branch of the Lithuanian Writers’ Union and the compilers of the almanac Violeta Šoblinskaitė and Gasparas Aleksa admitted frankly that they were not satisfied with the concept of the almanac.

In the published discussion “There is no good that would not become capitalism” D.Kajokas emphasised that the aim of the almanac was to represent the situation of contemporary poetry but admitted sadly that poems and articles published in the book could hardly represent the real situation of our poetry and criticism. People do not read the almanac, compilers torture themselves, critics mock them. A natural question arises then why is it needed then?

It is likely that people who compile the publication do not know what criteria they should follow, and institutions that should aid the compilers do not have a clear strategy. The almanac is trusted to different compilers every year, therefore, its concept should be different every year as well. Perhaps such an idea is not the worst for presenting our poetry in a new way. Still, the almanac does not become an exemplary selection of poetry.

The offer to try out innovation and to preserve tradition creates an equivocal impression. How should tradition be cherished by distancing from it. This problem turns into an insoluble aporia. Traditional stanzas sound alongside with poems of images that are not related logically. Endless cacophony is left to the reader. Some poets seem to be too much loyal to the traditional style. For others the action of ruining the tradition becomes more important than the creation of original poetic language. Still others try to combine tradition and contemporary features and melt in the flow of boring poems of the almanac.

Therefore, the author of the article asserts that this selection of poetry does not represent the best poetry but introduces the confronted problems instead. The first problem is copying. It is not plagiarism of other poet’s poems. Copying is the blind following of the literature tradition. Another issue clear from the almanac is the will of poets to be contemporary. Sometimes a suspicion appears that poets attempt to create artificially sophisticated poems, search for unnatural surprises and too innovative vocabulary.

Nonetheless, the author agrees with Benediktas Januševičius’ words that there are some really good poems in the almanac which open up possibilities for an existential conversation. Even though the publication presents problems rather than represents poetry, it also shows that Lithuanian poets may create original methods of speaking attracting the reader by originality.

More original poems are written by Evaldas Ignatavičius, Mari Poisson, Tomas Taškauskas, Rolandas Rastauskas, Boel Schenlaer. It is poetry born on the way from loneliness to another loneliness. Their poems combine traditional language with novelty, general features with original ones. Personal individual shade is granted to poems of these poets.

In general, the almanac “Poetry Spring 2008” leaves a controversial impression. One may not state that it is completely worthless. There are some more interesting poems that shine in the overcast sky of the Poetry Spring. Still, the flow of poems of low value is strong. Perhaps the poems should have been divided into separate chapters, conceptual articles presenting them to the reader should have been published.

Now one may only rejoice that the compilers and publishers of the almanac “Poetry Spring 2008” finally started evaluating their work critically. Something has happened! It is a sign that perhaps positive results will be achieved in future.

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