Loreta Varaniūtė, Lina Staponaitė*) , 2010 06 23

V.Stankus. Photo from

V.Stankus. "A Walk on the Other Side of Ice". 2009

In brief: The biggest test for poets is the test of glory most probably. It is still early to guess whether the poet V.Stankus, who received Zigmas Gėlė Prize for the debut selection of poems “A Walk on the Other Side of Ice”, will be inspired for new poetical searches by such evaluation or will fall asleep on laurels. Still, it is intriguing and tempting to have a walk on the other side of ice and to get acquainted with the most outstanding poetical debut of the year.

Looking at the cover of the book, the eye is caught by the unclear number of legs: they are washed-out, torn, defragmented, lonely. The illustration poses a question: is the man of the poems of this selection like this? Lonely, lost, seen or perhaps recognised somewhere in the crowd. The answer may be found reading the book slowly and attentively.

Each poem of V.Stankus requires attention and caution. Everything is very complicated in the three chapters of the selection. The author reveals his experiences using the system, which cannot be felt at once.

The selection leaves a dual impression: it seems that the poems are very personal, they should be read cautiously so that the experience of reading would not be thrust to objective decisions. On another hand, this poetry is even too personal, too subjective; as a result, it seems distant and impossible to understand.

“A Walk on the Other Side of Ice” is marked by confrontations with the great dilemma of poetry: the book attracts by its conviction and real feeling; at the same time it creates the wish to run away from it as it is too slippery and cold for the reader to believe in it.

The themes and motifs of the book are not new. All this has already been heard, read and felt many times. Still, the ideas or themes are not the most significant in poetry. V.Stankus is trying to search for the original form for expressing the human experience persistently, and this is his strength.

Poetry may not disguise life; still, it does not show life either – this is the impression left by “A Walk on the Other Side of Ice”. Even though some poems remain unlocked, unfelt and empty in the selection, the load of experience left by the selection makes one doubt whether the first pancake is always burnt. 

*) The authors are members of the alternative literature movement Žirklionis of literature students of VU KHF that made the debut in the portal in 2008.

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