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Boris Pasternak


My beginnings with poetry
Tomas Venclova Poet
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Well, my very first poems were dedicated to the Hungarian Revolution. I can say with pride that many, many years later when Hungary and Lithuania were free, I received a Hungarian medal for supporting the Hungarian Revolution then through my poems. My poems, of course, were not published but they were circulated amongst people. People wrote them down. By the way, Kazys Boruta wrote them down and they almost ended up in a collection of Boruta's works after Boruta's death, but my father noticed in time that they weren't Boruta's work but mine and they were taken out of Boruta's collected works. They are now part of my collection. Well, in a word, I began writing then. I wrote not just those political poems – the very first ones were indeed political, were indeed poems about Hungary – but I also wrote on the subject of love and landscapes, I wrote about Klaipėda, the town where I was born which I used to visit a lot then and which I came to love very much. I wrote about Vilnius, I wrote about my youthful, as it were, moods, what all young people were doing then. And I then began to be very... I began to be very interested in underground Russian poetry, authors like [Boris] Pasternak.

Na, ir mano patys pirmieji eilėraščiai buvo skirti Vengrijos revoliucijai. Taip pasididžiuodamas galiu pasakyti, kad po daugelio daugelio metų, kada jau Vengrija ir Lietuva buvo laisvos, gavau vengrišką medalį už tai, kad tada savo eilėraščiais palaikiau Vengrijos revoliucijos reikalą. Ir mano eilėraščiai, žinoma, nebuvo išspausdinti, bet jie sklido tarp žmonių. Žmonės juos persirašinėjo, tarp kitko, persirašė Kazys Boruta ir jie vos vos nepateko į Borutos raštų rinkinį po Borutos mirties, bet tėvas laiku pastebėjo, kad čia ne Borutos kūryba, o mano, ir jie buvo išbraukti iš Borutos raštų rinkinio. Dabar jie įeina į mano raštus. Na, žodžiu sakant, tada pradėjau rašyti, rašiau ne tik tuos politinius eilėraščius, bet patys pirmieji buvo kaip tik politiniai, kaip tik eilėraščiai apie Vengriją. Bet rašiau ir meilės temomis ir peizažinėmis temomis, rašiau apie savo gimtąjį miestą Klaipėdą, kurį tada dažnai lankydavau ir labai pamilau. Rašiau apie Vilnių, rašiau apie savo jaunystės, taip sakant, nuotaikas, ką visi jauni žmonės tada daro. Ir labai tada man... mane pradėjo labai dominti rusų draudžiamoji poezija, tokie autoriai kaip Pasternakas.

Born in 1937, Tomas Venclova is a Lithuanian scholar, poet, author and translator of literature. He was educated at Vilnius University and later at Tartu University. As an active participant in the dissident movement he was deprived of Soviet citizenship in 1977 and had to emigrate. Between 1977 and 1980 he lectured at University of California, Berkeley, where he became friends with the Polish poet Czesław Miłosz, who was a professor of Slavic Languages and Literature at the school, as well as the Russian poet Joseph Brodsky. He is currently a full professor at Yale University.

Listeners: Andrzej Wolski

Film director and documentary maker, Andrzej Wolski has made around 40 films since 1982 for French television, the BBC, TVP and other TV networks. He specializes in portraits and in historical films. Films that he has directed or written the screenplay for include Kultura, which he co-directed with Agnieszka Holland, and KOR which presents the history of the Worker’s Defence Committee as told by its members. Andrzej Wolski has received many awards for his work, including the UNESCO Grand Prix at the Festival du Film d’Art.

Tags: Hungarian Revolution, Hungary, Lithuania, Klaipėda, Vilnius, Kazys Boruta, Boris Pasternak

Duration: 1 minute, 27 seconds

Date story recorded: May/June 2011

Date story went live: 20 March 2012