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2014.05.22 11:05

50th Spring of Poetry festival began

Linas Jegelevičius | The Lithuania Tribune | DELFI2014.05.22 11:05

The 50th anniversary-celebrating Spring of Poetry 2014, an annual festival of amateurish free-flowing verses and a more sophisticated professional poetry, has started off with the heart-gripping stanzas  of Lithuanian verse- writers, the hosts of the traditional poesy festival.

The 50th anniversary-celebrating Spring of Poetry 2014, an annual festival of amateurish free-flowing verses and a more sophisticated professional poetry, has started off with the heart-gripping stanzas  of Lithuanian verse- writers, the hosts of the traditional poesy festival.

“I can hardly single out anything in the context of the abundance of events within the framework of the traditional festival. But, sure, the 50th anniversary of it is a very special thing,” Antanas Jonynas, the chairman of Lithuania’s Union of Writers (LUW), told the Lithuania Tribune.

But perhaps most of the violin, piano or cell-sounds accompanying the verse reciting will be in some way rhythmical to “Metai” (The Seasons), the first-ever classic Lithuanian-language poem.

Written by the legendary Kristijonas Donelaitis, a Prussian by ethnicity, Donelaitis in his poem depicted everyday life of the 18th century’s Lithuanian peasants and their fight with serfdom. As Lithuania this year celebrates his 300th anniversary, don’t be surprised to hear many verses in the festival dedicated to the man.

“Indeed, an important emphasis on all the poetry this year will certainly be on the literary heritage of Donelaitis,” agreed Jonynas.

Over one hundred of various events within the festival’s program will be held in a course of nearly two weeks. Some of them will take place as far as in Ireland, Germany, Poland, Belarus, Russia, Switzerland, Georgia and France. “We have never pegged the festival only to Lithuania. In fact, we are resolved to expand its geography to quite new literary frontiers in Europe and beyond it.”

As a matter of fact, the far-flung Georgians were the first ones to start the festival. For two days, until May 18th, they swarmed Tbilisi’s Old City streets to listen to Lithuanian poetry. Its ambassadorship of Lithuanian culture in the Georgian capital was wrapped up with the presentation of the Lithuanian and Ukrainian almanac of poesy “Už horizonto“ (Behind the Horizon) and a fest of Georgian poesy in the museum of Važa Pšavel, a Georgian classic poet.

The stick of “poetry relay” then was taken over by Frenchmen in the Lithuanian capital who threw a great evening of Lithuanian and French verses at the French Institute.

Hardly any other poetry crooners could be more mesmerizing and tapping the depths of soul than the French!

“But speaking of foreign verse writers ready to participate in the festival Latvians will make the majority,” noted Janina Rutkauskienė, director of Spring of Poetry 2014.

Of 18 foreign rhymers 7 will be from Latvia, while an impressive 200 Lithuanian verses-writers will fill up local cozy yards, old streets and other venues suitable for that purpose. “The festival is one of the oldest of its kind in entire Europe, it is still expanding. And this is something we are very proud of” the director told the Lithuania Tribune.

A “purely” Lithuanian kick-off of the festival was the introduction of the CD “50 Voices of Poetry Spring” that took place in the White Hall of the LUW, a traditional venue for solemn events like this.The festival, however, will spin out of the traditional realm this year, as its organizers have included on-site life performances, folk song concerts and other cultural events in the program.

Some of the events will be held in the Lithuanian seaport of Klaipėda, which will invite all the folks far away from verse to discover their literary talents. “Imagine you’re foisted a microphone into your hands and asked to crank out a stanza impromptu. Would you handle that? This is what we are going to do in the festival’s Klaipėda venues,” Juozas Šikšnelis, chairman of the LUW’s Klaipėda branch, told the Lithuania Tribune.