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The decision to emigrate


Feeling isolated from society
Tomas Venclova Poet
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Sakau, visa tai susiję ir su Paryžiumi, kur dabar esame, nes Ginzburgas mirė Paryžiuje, o Gorbanevskaja tebegyvena Paryžiuje... Dabar reiškia, mano tėvas dar buvo tuo metu gyvas, bet po kiek laiko jis mirė širdies liga, aš likau su motina. Ir čia mano reikalai pradėjo staigiai blogėti, nes ligi tol aš galėjau spausdinti savo... šiek tiek ir savo paties darbų, ar tai mokslinių straipsnių, ar tai publicistikos, ar tai eilėraščių, bet labai nedaug, bet galėjau. Galėjau spausdinti vertimų, galėjau iš to pragyventi, ir staiga mane visai beveik liovėsi spausdinę, beveik visai liovėsi spausdinę. Man jau iškilo klausimas: Ką man daryti, iš ko gyventi, kaip toliau, taip sakant, egzistuoti šioje visuomenėje? Nes valdžiai, matyt, labai jau pradėjo kliūti mano tie disidentiniai ryšiai ir pažintys, ir mano pažiūros, kurios labai skyrėsi nuo oficialiai priimtų pažiūrų ir aš to visiškai neslėpiau. Faktiškai, daug tokiu žmonių buvo, kurie nesutiko su valdžia, bet jie visi savo pažiūras slėpė, o viešai, netgi labai dažnai, pasisakydavo už. Tuo tarpu aš neslėpiau ir pasisakydavau prieš, kartais netgi ir viešai. Dėl to manęs nepriėmė į Rašytojų sąjungą, pavyzdžiui. O be Rašytojų sąjungos žmogus, kaip sakoma, neturėjo visuomeninio veido, irgi nelabai buvo aišku ką jis toliau veiks ir koks bus jo toliau likimas.

I have to say all of that is connected with Paris where we are now because [Alexander] Ginzburg died in Paris and [Natalya] Gorbanevskaya still lives in Paris... My father was still alive at that time but he died a little later of heart disease, leaving my mother and me. And all of a sudden things started to get worse for me because up to that time I had been able to get some of my own work published – whether it was scholarly articles or political journalism or poems, not very much, but I had been able to get some work published. I was able to have my translations published, I could survive from the income and suddenly they almost completely stopped publishing me... they almost completely stopped publishing me and the question arose: what should I do? How should I make a living? How to go on, as it were, existing in this society? Because, it would seem, my dissident connections and acquaintances became very much a problem for the authorities, my views as well which differed very much from the officially acceptable stance on things, and I didn’t hide that at all. In fact, there were lots of people like that, who disagreed with the authorities but they all concealed their views and even publicly would often support the official point of view. Whereas I didn’t hide and would speak out against, sometimes publicly, against the authorities. For that reason I wasn’t accepted into the Writers’ Union, for example. And without the Writers’ Union a person had, as it were, no place in society, and it wasn’t very clear what he was able to do in the future and what his fate would be.

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: Writers' Union, Alexander Ginzburg, Natalya Gorbanevskaya

Duration: 1 minute, 45 seconds

Date story recorded: May/June 2011

Date story went live: 20 March 2012