Contents and Summaries 3/2023

Spis treści numeru 3/2023

Tadas Žvirinskis: poems / 7

Gabija Grušaitė: Cold East / 11

When Stasys Šaltoka, a young literary expat, wakes up in his bed in New York on his 29th birthday with a stranger, he realizes that his life, focused on his career, looks good only through Instagram filters. At a bar, he meets Kenny, a Welshman mainly involved in shooting commercials, who decides to leave his depression-stricken wife and embark on a journey to Asia to make a film about the problems of countries in the global South. He invites Stasys to join him. This is an excerpt from the novel Cold East (Stasys Šaltoka. Vieneri metai, 2017) written by Lithuanian author Gabija Grušaitė. It is a contemporary story about the inner transformation of a thirty-year-old, about human relations, and the search for true happiness and the meaning of life.

Enrika Striogaitė: poems / 27

Birutė Jonuškaitė: poems / 30

Neringa Butnoriūtė: Aesthetes and Realists. On the Dominants Features of Contemporary Lithuanian Poetry / 33

Characterizing the processes taking place in Lithuanian poetry after 1990, the author refers to the concept of two co-existing macro-trends, distinguished on the basis of attitudes towards poetic tradition and expectations towards poetry. By putting forward the thesis that the latest Lithuanian lyrical poetry should be placed in a realistic rather than an aesthetic macro-trend, she indicates its specific features (references to the category of “new sincerity”, more frequent use of lower stylistic registers, social engagement, a broad range of themes addressed in the poems, clear influences of global tendencies and new media). Additionally, the sketch provides a concise presentation of the works of selected representatives of both macro-trends, as well as poets who are difficult to unequivocally categorize as “aesthetes” or “realists”.

Keywords: contemporary Lithuanian poetry, aestheticism in Lithuanian poetry, realism in Lithuanian poetry, Lithuanian history, Lithuania’s regaining of independence, modernism, social criticism, New Sincerity movement, globalization, new media

Vladas Braziūnas: poems / 40

Danutė Kalinauskaitė: A Bum / 44

This short story is taken from the collection Skersvėjo namai (The Drafty House) published in 2015. The titular character, Menelka (a Bum), is a young girl with a unique voice who searches for “real things” in life and struggles to adapt to the ruthless reality of the show-business world. Sensitive and old-fashioned, she refuses to compromise her perception of the world and chooses to remain on the margins to preserve her authenticity. Danutė Kalinauskaitė’s complex and detail-oriented prose captivates readers with its subtlety and intensity, uncovering deeper layers of meaning.

Antanas A. Jonynas: poems / 51

Nerijus Cibulskas: poems / 53

Jūratė Čerškutė: The Informal Curriculum Vitae of Lithuanian Prose in the 21st Century / 56

The article provides an overview and presentation of Lithuanian fiction of the last thirty years – its stages, periodisation, writers, and significant works. The development of Lithuanian prose in the 20th century is inextricably linked to historical events and the 50 years of Soviet occupation, so the overview of contemporary, free, and independent Lithuanian fiction begins in 1989 and ends almost in the present – 2022. The analysis of each individual stage of development focuses on significant works and their creators who have shaped the history of contemporary Lithuanian prose.

Keywords: contemporary Lithuanian prose, Lithuanian history, Sovietization, Lithuanian SSR, Lithuania’s regaining of independence, Lithuanian national revival, reckoning literature, Lithuanian essayistic writing, Lithuanian historical novel

Gintaras Grajauskas: poems / 68

Herkus Kunčius: The Night of the Aurora / 72

The story revolves around a Polish-Lithuanian family and takes place in St. Petersburg on the night of October 25th to 26th, 2017. The head of the family, Juozapas M. (a Lithuanian), his wife Jadwiga (a Polish woman), and their son Władysław each experience an erotic adventure that night under different circumstances. The story can be seen as a historical grotesque, depicting people caught up in orgiastic frenzy during the assault on the Winter Palace at the beginning of the October Revolution. Herkus Kunčius playfully employs stereotypes about various nations and social groups while also exposing their true weaknesses and revealing complex ethnic relations in a multicultural empire.

Nijolė Kliukaitė-Kepenienė: poems / 87

Romualdas Granauskas: Sad Rivers / 91

Post-war Soviet Lithuania. The protagonist of the novella is a ten-year-old boy, who, along with his mother and stepfather, arrives in a small village in Žemaitija. They are war refugees. Initially very lonely, the boy befriends Bronis, a two-year-older sickly boy from a neighbouring family of “kulaks”, threatened with deportation to Siberia. On the eve of Easter, the boy stays overnight at his friend’s house. They bathe in a bathhouse in the evening, and the next day they are supposed to go to church by carriage for a festive mass. However, during the night, the NKVD agents arrive. They read aloud the names of family members designated for deportation. The nanny tries to save Bronis by claiming he is her own maiden child. The agents take only the parents. But as the truck departs, Bronis runs out of the house, chasing after the vehicle, screaming “mommy!”…

Daiva Molytė Lukauskienė: poems / 99

Nijolė Daujotytė: poems / 102

Sonata Žalneravičiūtė: In the World of Vilnius Cinemas. People and History / 105

Sonata Žalneravičiūtė, a Lithuanian film critic and exhibition curator, presents the history of cinema in Vilnius: from the early decades of the 20th century and the times of World War II through the period of Soviet Lithuania to the 1990s. The starting points are – in addition to the author’s professional knowledge – excerpts from interviews with three women born before World War II in Vilnius and press clippings. The detailed, though sometimes fragmentary, information contained in the stories of the characters of this peculiar reportage and in archival materials not only forms a colourful case study, but also sheds light on a broader background, which is the dramatic history of 20th-century Lithuania.

Keywords: cinema, cinematography, Vilnius, Lithuanian history, interwar period, World War II, German occupation of Vilnius, Lithuanian Soviet Socialist Republic, Soviet cultural policy

Ernestas Noreika: poems / 115

Undinė Radzevičiūtė: Minaret and 7 / 122

The narrator of the novel Minaretas ir 7 (2021), a writer tired of urban noise and ubiquitous renovations, receives a foreign scholarship and the opportunity to spend a few months in an artist residency at a Baroque palace in Bamberg. She plans to write a book there about an eccentric collector. However, shortly after her arrival, an illness confines her to bed for several weeks, forcing her to study the sgraffito on the ceiling in great detail. To make matters worse, the writer from Iraq living in the adjacent room has a preference for Arabic dance music. He listens to it during the night, turning the supposedly idyllic retreat for artists into a true survival camp and prompting unexpected reflections from the protagonist.

Rimvydas Stankevičius: poems / 127

Marta Panas-Goworska, Andrzej Goworski: “Bohiń”: They Are Not Here / 130

Bohiń by Tadeusz Konwicki is a novel that allows readers to explore Lithuania. While the elements of the fictional world do not always align with real topography, these expansions, contractions, or distortions are not accidental. It is worth paying attention to them because they open up a new perspective on reading, which could be described as quasi-journalistic. However, are we not dealing here with a trap set by Konwicki, or, using postmodern terminology, an invitation to a literary game? What, then, do Lithuania and Belarus represent in Bohiń? Undoubtedly, they are entities anchored in Konwicki’s memory and in the general knowledge of readers. And it is precisely because of this that reading this novel can become an inspiration to travel not only along the paths outlined by Google Maps, but also through the inner realms of our minds and hearts.

Keywords: Tadeusz Konwicki, Bohiń, Lithuania, Malovida, Buyvidze, Vilia, postmodernism, literary games, Lauda, real and literary topography, local homeland

Dainius Gintalas: poems / 138

Daina Opolskaitė: The Dog is Here / 142

The narrator offers to pick up her cousin from the train station. She has not seen him since childhood. As memories come flooding back, she becomes nervous and regrets her decision. She recalls a game – a challenge she set for herself during one of their shared evenings. She wanted to scare her cousin with an invented giant black dog. She succeeded in her goal, disregarding the boy’s tears and panic. At the train station, the protagonist spots her cousin, calls out to him, but he insists it must be a mistake and quickly leaves in a taxi. The story depicts how cruel children can be in their unawareness and encourages reflection on the impact such childhood episodes have on individuals.

Kornelijus Platelis: poems / 147

Vidas Morkūnas: Miniatures / 151

Excerpts from the collection of short prose Stations of Chance Roads (Pakeleiningų stotys, 2019) by Vidas Morkūnas. The book is composed of microhistories, genre scenes, portraits, internal monologues, and small parables reminiscent of “newspaper clippings” – each fragment contains an unknown, “torn-off” punchline or crucial information that the reader must infer to fill the cognitive gap. The protagonists are usually anti-heroes, “chance” companions encountered at train stations and bus stops (most often – on the sidelines) of life. Their intriguing classification (grouping microhistories according to recurring headings such as “poor souls”, “the nameless”, “stations”, “grudges”, “from various ovens”) forms the compositional backbone of the book.

Irena Aleksaitė: poems / 156


Wiesława Turżańska: Fate Woven Like a Braid / 157

An essay devoted to the novelistic diptych by Lithuanian writer Birutė Jonuškaitė (Volume 1: Maranta; Volume 2: Maestro). The author begins her considerations with a reference to Jonuškaitė’s biographical text In Miłosz’s Footsteps and then discusses both works, emphasizing that they can be characterized as psychological, existential or coming-of-age novels. Maranta is not only a family saga that addresses the topic less familiar to Polish readers, namely the Lithuanian minority in the Polish-Lithuanian borderlands. It is also an example of the popular genre of herstory – the stories dominated by a female perspective. The theme that connects both parts of the diptych is the influence of childhood traumas on the formation of an individual’s personality. The essay also points out the numerous references to analytical psychology in Jonuškaitė’s novels, including Jungian concepts, such as the “shadow”, and highlights the original leitmotif of the fair-haired braid of Lithuanian women.

Keywords: Birutė Jonuškaitė, Maranta, Maestro, Polish-Lithuanian relations, Sejny Region, local homeland, Lithuanian national minority in Poland, Lithuanian history, World War II, trauma, Czesław Miłosz, Bildungsroman, psychological novel, women’s literature, herstories, masculinity and femininity, family theme, artist theme, emigration, analytical psychology, the concept of the “shadow”

Grzegorz Jędrek: Family Borderland. Can Jonuškaitė’s Prose be Read Objectively? / 167

A sketch devoted to the literary work of Birutė Jonuškaitė, with a particular focus on her novelistic diptych Maranta and Maestro. The translated prose and poetry of the Lithuanian writer form a narrative about the Polish-Lithuanian borderland. However, they can also be interpreted in a broader perspective, in light of the trends that have emerged in European and even global culture in recent decades. An important role is played by the Sejny Region – the birthplace of Jonuškaitė and the setting for many of her works. The personal and intimate connection to this borderland, which is simultaneously part of a larger history, enables the author to delve into the issue of local identity as a force countering the global process of cultural homogenization. Thus, the novelistic saga of this Lithuanian writer can be interpreted as a form of a narrative which is European in spirit and based on values such as diversity and understanding.

Keywords: Birutė Jonuškaitė, Maranta, Maestro, Polish-Lithuanian relations, Sejny Region, local homeland, Lithuanian national minority in Poland, Central and Eastern Europe, borderland, identity, locality, globalism, cultural diversity


Ramutė Rachlevičiūtė: How Three Self-taught Artists Transformed the Landscape of Not Just One City / 174

The essay focuses on three self-taught artists from Panevėžys: sculptor Rimas Idzelis (1950-2013), graphic artist Stasys Petrauskas (1950-2010), and painter Romualdas Petraskaus (1958-2021). Their works (a phenomenon not limited to the local scale) have not been extensively analyzed by Lithuanian art historians until now. The works of Rimas Idzelis feature biblical motifs interpreted from a contemporary and personal point of view. The discussion of the most important works of all three artists is accompanied by biographical sketches and references to the realities of the era that shaped them.

Keywords: Rimas Idzelis, Stasys Petrauskas, Romualdas Petraskaus, surreal art, sacred art

Grzegorz Józefczuk: Stasys – Faces, Masks, Returns / 179

Since 1980, the outstanding Lithuanian artist Stasys Eidrigevičius (born in 1949) has been living in Poland, becoming a symbol and ambassador of Polish-Lithuanian cooperation in the field of art and culture. Although his career started in Warsaw, it is in his hometown of Panevėžys, Lithuania, where the Stasys Eidrigevičius Museum is now being established. His dual identity gives universal meaning to Stasys’ drawings and graphics. The primary figure in Stasys’ visual semantics is the human form, often reduced to a face that transforms into a mask, and the mask becomes a face.

Keywords: Stasys Eidrigevičius, human figure, face, mask, exlibris, small graphic forms, posters, illustrations, The Visitors installation, theatricality, performance, anti-industrialism, afeminism

Lechosław Lameński: Between Lublin and Vilnius. From the Recent History of Polish-Lithuanian Artistic Encounters / 184

To celebrate the 450th anniversary of the signing of the Union of Lublin, during the 6th International Art Encounters in 2019, the Lublin Branch of the Association of Polish Artists and Designers (ZPAP) and the National Museum in Lublin, in collaboration with an analogous association in Vilnius, organized a plein air and an exhibition titled Unia sztuk – Unia artystów (Union of Arts – Union of Artists). The exhibition presented an overview of trends and tendencies in contemporary Polish and Lithuanian art. It was accompanied by a bilingual catalog, prepared with the assistance of the editors of the literary and artistic quarterly “Akcent”, which featured reproductions of the most interesting works, biographical notes of visual artists, and selected poems by poets from both countries. This initiative by Lublin artists successfully fits into the growing trend of Polish-Lithuanian cooperation aimed at bringing closer and explaining the complex relations between the two nations in the fields of culture and art, especially in the 19th and 20th centuries. It began in 1996 with the exhibition Artistic Education in Vilnius and Its Traditions at the District Museum in Toruń, and continues with the latest exhibition Wilno, Vilnius, Vilne 1918-1948. Jedno miasto – wiele opowieści (Wilno, Vilnius, Vilne 1918-1948. One City – Many Stories), which can be seen at the National Museum in Kraków (May-September 2023) and the National Art Gallery in Vilnius (November 2023 – February 2024).

Keywords: Union of Lublin, avant-garde trends, socialist realism, realism, Polish-Lithuanian cooperation


Maria Stępkowska: DNA of Resistance. A Sketch on Lithuanian Theatre / 189

The article describes the conditions of the birth of Lithuanian theatre and its development, with particular emphasis on the period of transition, i.e., the 1990s and the first two decades of the new century. The author characterizes the profiles of the most important creators of the contemporary Lithuanian stage, from those belonging to the oldest generation (Nekrošius, Vaitkus, Tuminas) through representatives of the middle generation (Koršunovas, Varnas) to the youngest directors (Tuminaitė, Glušajevas, Ignatavičius, Areima, Gudmonaitė). The text also includes information about the presence of Polish directors on Lithuanian stages over the past twenty years and about the current theatrical life in Lithuania, including the international festivals held there regularly.

Keywords: Lithuanian theatre, Lithuanian history, birth and development of theatre in Lithuania, Lithuanian language, adaptations of classical plays, contemporary drama, international theatre festivals in Lithuania, theatre studies in Lithuania, Polish theatre creators in Lithuania


Jarosław Sawic: Escape to the Forest. On the Music of M.K. Čiurlionis / 206

The text is a reflection, infused with personal emotions, on the music of Mikalojus Konstantinas Čiurlionis (1875-1911). Čiurlionis was the first academic composer in Lithuanian history. His post-Romantic symphonic poems (Miške and Jūra) transplanted the achievements of Richard Strauss and Alexander Scriabin into Lithuanian national music, while his piano works experimented with atonal harmonies. Čiurlionis was also the author of over 300 highly regarded paintings, which are now housed in the M.K. Čiurlionis National Museum of Art in Kaunas. In painting, he was a representative of symbolism and a precursor to surrealism and abstractionism. The author presents Čiurlionis’ biography and shows how this artist, raised in Polish culture, gradually discovered his Lithuanian identity.

Keywords: Mikalojus Konstantinas Čiurlionis, classical music, painting, the turn of the 19th and 20th centuries, Lithuanian independence movement, Polish-Lithuanian relations, Sofija Kymantaitė, the theosophical idea of music, synthesis of arts theory, atonal music, symbolism, surrealism, abstractionism


From various sides…

Wiesława Turżańska: Crumbs of the Day, Crumbs of Life, Crumbs of the World… [Hanna Krall „Szczegóły znaczące” (“Meaningful Details”)]; Monika Adamczyk-Garbowska: The Good Name of a Nobel Laureate [Isaac Bashevis Singer „Ruda Kejla” (“Keyla la Rossa”)]; Józef Franciszek Fert: The Four Horsemen of the Apocalypse – on Bicycles (Across the Borderlands) [Adam Wiesław Kulik „Nostalgia Wschodu. Śladami Unitów” (“Nostalgia of the East. Tracing the Unitarians”)]; Eliza Leszczyńska-Pieniak: The Road to Ithaca [Agnieszka Stabro „Igor Mitoraj. Polak o włoskim sercu. Beletryzowana biografia artysty” (“Igor Mitoraj: A Pole with an Italian Heart. A Fictionalized Biography of the Artist”)]; Andrij Saweneć: Poetry as Action, Translation as Feat [Ukrainian Poetry Library „W obliczu wojny” (“In the Face of War”) Second Series. Eds. Natalia Trochym, Krzysztof Czyżewski]; Aleksander Wójtowicz: “Salt of the Earth” after (Almost) a Hundred Years [Józef Wittlin „Sól ziemi. Powieść o cierpliwym piechurze” (“Salt of the Earth. A Novel about a Patient Infantryman”)] / 216

Reviews of recently published prose, poetry, science, essay and documentary books, seen against the background of the most significant currents and phenomena of contemporary culture.


Romuald Mieczkowski: Thirty Poetic “Mays over the Vilnius River”/ 243

In relation to the 30th International Poetry Festival „Maj nad Wilią” (May over the Vilnius River), the author presents an overview of Polish literature in Lithuania in the post-war years, recalling the publications that gave impetus to its revival. The magazine “Znad Wilii” (Over the Vilnius River) played a significant role in this process. Thanks to this periodical initiative, later on, the radio of the same name, the Polish Art Gallery, the Documentary Film Studio, and a festival involving creators, translators, scholars, and cultural researchers from over 30 countries were established. They were hosted by the Writers’ Union of Lithuania, with some participating in the Lithuanian festival “Poezijos pavasaris” (Spring of Poetry). The author discusses the concept of the festival, provides key themes of certain editions, gives examples of collaborations, and ponders the future of similar endeavours.

Piotr Wyszomirski: More Than Theater: A Chronicle Sketch of the Polish Theater “Studio” in Vilnius / 250

The activity of the first Polish theater in Vilnius after World War II, founded in 1960 by the physician Janina Strużanowska, remains an incompletely described phenomenon. Since 1986, Lilija Kiejzik has been the artistic director of the theater, supported by her son Edward, an actor, director, and administrative manager. Over the course of more than 60 years, several generations of Poles have participated in a vast number of events organized by the Strużanowska and Kiejzik theater: ceremonial gatherings, concerts, poetry evenings. Around a hundred theatrical premieres have been produced, and over 20 editions of international festivals have been organized. The attached calendar briefly presents the theatre’s previous activities.

Keywords: Polish Theater “Studio” in Vilnius, Polish-Lithuanian relations, Reduta Theater, Juliusz Osterwa, Pohulanka Theater, Lithuanian SSR, Janina Strużanowska, Lilija Kiejzik, Edward Kiejzik, Polish culture in Lithuania, Union of Polish Theaters outside Poland, Trans/Missions and Trans/Missions Balticum Festival, MonoEast Monospectacle Festival, Wanda Siemaszkowa Theater in Rzeszów, International Festival of Vilnius Meetings with the Polish Stage


Grażyna Lutosławska: Sofa / 262


Leszek Mądzik: The Teacher / 265


Marek Danielkiewicz: Oh, Those Russians with Their Missiles and Imperial Pride… / 266

Notes about authors / 269