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'Stay in Lithuania'


Recognition from the West
Tomas Venclova Poet
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Na, ir nusiunčiau tą laišką į Centro komitetą paštu, o, žinoma, dėl viso pikto, pasilikau keletą kopijų ir tas kopijas daviau bičiuliams, kurie, kaip aš žinojau, nujaučiau, turėjo ryšių su pogrindžio spauda. Ir tas laiškas pateko į Lietuvos pogrindžio spaudą, o jeigu jau ten pateko, tai pateko ir į Vakarus. Į jį atkreipė dėmesį Vakaruose, jis buvo išverstas į kelias kalbas. Rodos, kad į prancūzų, tikrai į lenkų, jį išspausdino ta pati “Kultūra”. Buvo išverstas į rusų kalbą, į anglų kalbą. Brodskis ir Milošas atkreipė į tai dėmesį. Milošas domėjosi mano asmeniu ir mano veikla, ir tas laiškas jam padarė įspūdį. Milošas man pradėjo skambinti ir rašyti laiškus, tai buvo man didelė parama, kadangi, ne tik moralinė, bet ir... Tarybų valdžia labai vengė liesti žmonių, į kuriuos atkreiptas Vakarų dėmesys. Jeigu apie tave niekas nežino, žinoma, tave pasodins, ištrems ir iš tavęs, galbūt, taip sakant, nei pėdsako neliks. Bet jeigu Vakaruose žino, tai jie darėsi atsargesni. Tai irgi nebuvo jokia garantija, bet taip galėjo, taip sakant, galėjo būti, kad bent kurį laiką tu liksi laisvėje ir galėsi egzistuoti.

Well, I sent that letter to the Central Committee by post, and, just for the sake of it, of course, I kept several copies, and I gave those copies to friends whom I knew, who I felt had ties to the underground press. And that letter got into the Lithuanian underground press, and if it got in there, then it also found its way to the West. And it received some attention in the West. It was translated into several languages. I think into French, certainly into Polish. Kultura, which I've already mentioned, published it. It was translated into Russian, into English. It drew the attention of [Joseph] Brodsky and [Czesław] Miłosz. Miłosz was interested in me personally and my activities and that letter made an impression on him. Miłosz began telephoning and writing me letters. That was a great support for me since, not just moral, but also... The Soviet authorities very much avoided doing anything to people who had the attention of the West. If nobody knew anything about you then, of course, they would put you in prison, exile you and no trace, perhaps, as it were, would be left of you. But if they knew you in the West, then they became more careful. That was no guarantee, but it could be, so to speak, it could be that you would remain free for at least some time and would be able to exist.

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: Central Committee of the Lithuanian Communist Party, Kultura, Joseph Brodsky, Czesław Miłosz

Duration: 1 minute, 31 seconds

Date story recorded: May/June 2011

Date story went live: 20 March 2012