Eugenija Valienė
www.kamane.lt , 2009 10 01

In brief: Poet from Kaunas Gintaras Patackas (born in 1951) has already published more than fifteen books. This year his bibliographical list was supplemented by one more poetry book “Except for the Date at the Post Office” (published by “Nemunas”, 2009). The new collection of poems continues the earlier tradition of lyrics and infuses with new emotional impulses. The author says that this book is dedicated to more sophisticated readers.

Just like the earlier poetical rhythms, the latter poems of G. Patackas are also not traditionally versified. The author manifests against the canon with vers libre (in literature history this author is often characterised as a rebel, a bohemian). The poet himself names his creations de-lyrical, free of sentiments and rhythm; the priority is given to the strategy of text creation.

G. Patackas comprehends the process of creation as a work (once the author told: “we were taught to take the process of creation seriously.”), therefore every word is over thought and the setting of words strictly obeys the poet’s created laws of versification.

G. Patackas extracts words, images from every day life that are usually ignored by most of the poets (as poetry is a genre of high matters and no one must talk about earthly things – daily routine, triviality) and infuses into his poetry. The scope of poet’s poem is extended by individual knowledge of the reader. The author purposely fiddles the words in such a manner that the mind of the reader gets the maximum tense.

The tension is also created by continuing the creation tradition of Baudelaire: when high and low matters are combined (poetry and trivial prose, mercantilism and the flight of mind, drunkenness/intoxication and creation), the reflections of “bottom culture” are not ignored (these means were also used in earlier creations of the author), the reader is purposely shocked by erotic scenes.

The game of words and their meanings is one of the fundamental features of G. Patackas’ verses. Irony and neologisms that are usually not used in the common language do not have clear meaning, are ephemeral as they are created from names of objects (e.g. candy bar “Snickers” or soft drink “Coca-cola” are typical to his poetry).

“Except for the Date at the Post Office” is not a book that will let you enjoy the consumer-orientated feeling of reading. It will award you with new experience: mass culture is not derogated; it is being played with its symbols. Triviality and daily routine are harmonised with poetry. Language is not only a means of communication; it is a way of experimentation (the poet’s game with language reminds of avangardistic searches for the tetra-winders).

When looking into the newest book of poems of G. Patackas in the context of all his creations we can notice that its intentions, the manner of expression, sometimes harsh lexicon, the continuation of tradition of Baudelaire, marginal themes of literature and culture are similar to the earlier works of G. Patackas. The author can seem monotonous, banal, not looking for new means of expression. Nevertheless, it is atoned by masterly used play of language, virtuosically layered text from hints, the use of mass signs as the basis of thoughts about more universal things.

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