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Feeling isolated from society


My closest circle
Tomas Venclova Poet
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Tarp kitko, ne kas kitas, o Gorbanevskaja mane supažindino ir su mano žmona. Su ta jauna turiste, kuri atvyko į Vilnių, šešiasdešimt septintais metais, tai buvo metai prieš invaziją į Čekoslovakiją, metai prieš tai, kai Gorbanevskaja išgarsėjo visame pasaulyje. Na ir tokios buvo, tokia buvo bičiulystės, toks buvo mano artimiausias ratelis, žodžiu sakant, poetinis ratelis, su Brodskiu priešaky, mokslinis su Lotmanu priešaky, ir disidentinis kur buvo Ginzburgas ir Gorbanevskaja. Visi tie rateliai buvo šiek tiek susiję, kadangi visi tie žmonės vienas kitą, daugiau ar mažiau, pažinojo, nors dirbo skirtingose srityse. Brodskis toks atviras disidentas nebuvo, bet jo eilės buvo pakankamai nepriimtinos valdžiai. Lotmanas disidentas nebuvo, bet jo mokslinė veikla irgi buvo nevisai priimtina valdžiai. Na, Ginzburgas, Gorbanevskaja buvo jau tokie tiesioginiai disidentai ir mažai ką kita veikė, tiktai užsiėmė disidentine veikla.

By the way, it was none other than Gorbanevskaya who introduced me to my wife, a young tourist who came to Vilnius in '67, a year before the Czechoslovak invasion and a year before Gorbanevskaya became famous throughout the world. Well, and those were the... those were the friendships... that was my closest circle, in a word, a group of poets headed by [Joseph] Brodsky, a group of scholars with [Yury] Lotman at the head, and a group of dissidents led by [Alexander] Ginzburg and [Natalya] Gorbanevskaya. All of these groups were connected in some way since all these people knew one another, more or less, even though they worked in different fields. Brodsky wasn’t such an open dissident but his verse was simply unacceptable to the authorities. Lotman was not a dissident but his academic work was also not entirely approved of by the authorities. Well, Ginzburg and Gorbanevskaya were openly dissidents and did little else other than take part in dissident activities.

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: Alexander Ginzburg, Natalya Gorbanevskaya, Joseph Brodsky, Yury Lotman

Duration: 1 minute, 10 seconds

Date story recorded: May/June 2011

Date story went live: 20 March 2012