Wolfgang Görtschacher & Laima Sruoginis (eds.)
Raw Amber. An Anthology of Contemporary Lithuanian Poetry

September 2002. 224 pp. ISBN-13 978-3-901993-12-1; ISBN-10 3-901993-12-6
£14.00 (+ 2.50 p&p), €17.50 (+ 3.00 p&p), US$ 24.00 (+ 4.00 p&p)
 

Poems by:
Kazys Bradunas, Alfonsas Nyka-Niliunas, Jonas Mekas, Birute Pukeleviciute, Vytautas Bloze, Marcelijus Martinaitis, Tomas Venclova, Judita Vaiciunaite, Sigitas Geda, One Baliukone, Nijole Miliauskaite, Donaldas Kajokas, Eugenijus Ališanka, Sigitas Parulskis

Raw amber, the pebbles one picks from the Lithuanian shoreline after a winter or early spring storm, represents the subject matter that the poets featured in this anthology write about: The rawness of emotion felt in a country which, within the span of fifty years, has suffered three foreign invasions, the deportation of a third of its people to Siberia, and the slaughter of practically its entire Jewish community; ten years of partisan warfare against the Red Army that left an entire generation - the part of it that remained after the rest had fled to the West or been exiled to Siberia - shattered; nearly fifty years of foreign occupation; revolution; the recovery of a lost independence; and, finally, a decade of painful, slow, often disappointing, reconstruction. Stepping forward out of this panorama of pain, the poets in this anthology beckon the reader to enter into an inner life of cold beauty and tough fragility: worn stone steps, sawdust blown by a feeble wind at midnight, an ant carrying a fir needle ...
 


Polly Bird, "Review of Raw Amber", New Hope International Review

"Although Lithuanian poetry is widely available in German-language editions it is largely unknown to English-speakers. This excellent anthology brings together some of the best of Lithuania's modern poets. [...] Each poet's selection is preceded by a short introduction to their life and work. These make fascinating reading on their own and provide a snapshot of the cultural life of Lithuania. What emerges from the poetry in this book is a strong connection to the land itself and the Lithuanian people as a whole. [...] The translations are excellent and there is no sense of jarring that translated poetry sometimes achieves. This is an excellent introduction to a vibrant and exciting poetic culture."

Read the full review of Raw Amber at New Hope International Review On-Line
 

Robert von Dassanowsky, Southern Humanities Review 37.4 (Fall 2003)

"As with German writers, but in a different way, the horrors of the twentieth century will always haunt Lithuanian writing. Sigitas Parulskis concludes his feverish and hymnic 'Father's Time' with phantom traces of the past in personal and national consciousness: '... as for me - there are dried marks on my cheeks. ...' But whether influenced by rural or urban environment, by gender roles and experiences, by overt or covert political activity, or by the work of earlier masters and other nations, the poetry in this anthology tells the history of an amazingly resilient people and their most eloquent art - or as Sruoginis observes, of a land where 'poetry is not yet dead.' It is an understatement, for Lithuania has taught the world that poetry can still define and embrace a nation."


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