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The Ballads of Kukutis
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The Ballads of Kukutis (Paperback)

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Kukutis made his appearance in the Stalinist era, at the height of the forced collectivization of Lithuanian farming by the occupying Soviet forces which saw the obliteration of whole rural communities, and the introduction of oppressive laws and regulations. Completely incapable of understanding, let alone abiding by, these strictures, Kukutis - the outsider, the trickster - functioned outside of regulation and moved between different worlds, unhindered by borders and limits. In creating the character of Kukutis, Marcelijus Martinaitis found a voice which could articulate the anger, frustration and passions of the Lithuanian people, a voice which, contrary to all expectations, managed to escape the Soviet censor's pen and which, a decade after publication of 'The Ballads of Kukutis', was to become the catalyst for revolution in the Baltics. Indeed, during the mass political rallies of the late 1980s and early '90s, poems from 'The Ballads' were chanted, sung and performed everywhere. In this volume, Martinaitis's witty, ironic and incisive poems are published together, in English in Laima Vince's superb translation, as a single collection for the first time.

Fiction & PoetryPoetryPoetry by individual poets Publisher: Arc Publications Publication Date: 26/05/2011 ISBN-13: 9781906570262  Details: Type: Paperback Format: Books
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MARCELIJUS MARTINAITIS (poet) is the author of fifteen collections of poetry, five collections of essays and a series of three memoirs. In 1998 he was the recipient of the Lithuanian National Award in Literature, the highest honour bestowed upon a Lithuanian writer. Martinaitis was born in 1936 in the village of Paserbentis in geographically and culturally isolated Western Lithuania. He graduated from Vilnius University in 1964 with a degree in Lithuanian Literature. For more than a decade, he worked as a journalist and editor. From 1980 onwards he taught ethnography, literature, and poetry workshops at Vilnius University. He retired in 2002. Martinaitis's work has been translated into English, Estonian, French, Norwegian, Russian, Swedish, and Ukrainian. In addition to his work as a poet, essayist, and educator, Martinaitis is highly respected in Lithuania as a social activist and one of the first members of the Lithuanian grassroots political movement SA'judis. During the late eighties and early nineties, Martinaitis actively participated in Lithuania's struggle to regain independence from the Soviet Union. In 1989 he was elected into the Supreme Soviet and travelled to Moscow to argue Lithuania's cause as part of SA'judis's strategy to work within the Soviet system of governance towards the goal of declaring Lithuania's sovereignty. LAIMA VINCE (translator) is a graduate of Columbia University, School of the Arts MFA program in Creative Writing. She is a recipient of a National Endowment for the Arts Fellowship, two Fulbright lectureships, a PEN Translation grant, and an Academy of American Poets award, among other honours. Her memoir in diary form of her student years at Vilnius University in 1988-1989 during the time of Lithuania's singing revolution was published in 2008 by the Lithuanian Writers' Union Publishers as Lenin's Head on a Platter. Her novel for children, 'The Ghost in Hannah's Parlour', was translated into Lithuanian and was selected by Lithuanian Radio and Television as one of the top five books published for children in 2007. Laima Vince is the translator of Marcelijus Martinaitis's collection 'K.B. The Suspect', published by White Pines Press. She is also the translator of Juozas Luksa's 'Forest Brothers '(Central European University Press), an account of Lithuania's post-war armed resistance against the Soviet Union. Writing under the name Laima Sruoginis, she is the editor and translator of three anthologies of contemporary 'Lithuanian literature: The Earth Remains' (Columbia University Press), 'Lithuania in Her Own Words' (Tyto Alba), and 'Raw Amber' (Poetry Salzburg). Laima Sruoginis is also the translator of 'My Voice Betrays Me' (Vanda Juknaite, Columbia University Press), 'Just One Moment More' (Columbia University Press), and 'Letters from Nowhere' (Jonas Mekas, Paris Experimental). Laima Vince has published her poems in 'Poetry Daily', 'The Artful Dodge', 'Agni' and other journals. She also writes as a journalist on contemporary social issues in Lithuania.

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