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Setting up a self-education group


Russian and Lithuanian poets
Tomas Venclova Poet
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Another poet like him, a friend of [Boris] Pasternak and fellow-traveller, I would say, was [Osip] Mandelstam – whom I hold in very high esteem to this day – whom Stalin had arrested and who died in a concentration camp in 1938. [Anna] Akhmatova was still alive then. She was also attacked, persecuted, but lived – the most famous female Russian poet of those times. There was [Marina] Tsvetaeva. Tsvetaeva, who committed suicide in 1941, was also one of the most famous women poets not just in Russia but in all of Europe and the world in the first half of the 20th century. I read them all, I read them in the original Russian, they made a very great impression on me and probably had a not insignificant influence on my early verse. Of course, so did Lithuanian poets. I read [Henrikas] Radauskas, whom I’ve already mentioned, and Bernardas Brazdžionis, and Jonas Aistis, whose work would reach Lithuania clandestinely since they were emigrants.

Kitas toks poetas, Pasternako bičiulis ir bendrakeleivis, sakyčiau, buvo Mandelštamas, kurį aš nepaprastai aukštai vertinau ir ligi šiol tebevertinu – Stalino areštuotas ir žuvęs konclageryje 38-ais metais. Buvo Achmatova dar tuomet gyva. Irgi pjudoma, persekiojima, bet gyva – žymiausia tų laikų Rusijos poetė. Buvo Cvetajeva, Cvetajeva, kuri nusižudė 1941-ais metais. Irgi viena iš žymiausių ne tik Rusijos, bet ir visos Europos ir pasaulio poečių XX amžiaus pirmojoje pusėje. Aš juos visus skaičiau, skaičiau juos originalia rusų kalba, jie man darė labai didelį įspūdį, ir turbūt ir mano ankstyvosioms eilėms padarė nemažai įtakos. Žinoma, darė ir lietuvių poetai. Aš skaičiau ir tą patį Radauską, ir Bernardą Brazdžionį, ir Joną Aistį, kurie Lietuvą pasiekdavo slaptais keliais, kadangi buvo emigrantai.

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: 1938, 1941, Lithuania, Russia, Boris Pasternak, Osip Mandelstam, Anna Akhmatova, Marina Tsvetaeva, Henrikas Radauskas, Bernardas Brazdžionis, Bernardas Brazdžionis

Duration: 1 minute, 17 seconds

Date story recorded: May/June 2011

Date story went live: 20 March 2012