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Reflections on Belonging

The Vilnius Review begins to publish a cycle of essays called "Reflections on Belonging". Lithuanian writers and writers of Lithuanian origin will write about literature, translation, language, gender, identity and belonging.
Are we, as poet and translator Rimas Uzgiris puts it, "post-colonial, post-identity, post-home"? Or do we belong somewhere? Is language our only home? What does it mean to write - in one language, in two, in several languages? What is lost in translation? How does mobility and migration affects our life and literature?
These and other themes will be reflected upon by different writers, translators and essayists.

"Reflections on Belonging" is sponsored by association LATGA.

 

Photo by Dainora Blažiūnė
Do women increase the masculinity of power because it is the only kind of power known through civilizations? Does a woman instead of pursuing her femininity become a man? Does this happen because female identity was for too long not recognized as a different one? (...) Women stand radically for their rights and freedom in different continents, but what if the freedom—being the biggest passion ever—only leads to a bigger trap of a power that is masculine in character?

Galloping World, 2015. Photo by Dainius Dirgėla

by Agnė Žagrakalytė

I know that this safe greenhouse that I boast about here, this bubble in which I live, can at any time be torn apart by the terrible red horse of history.

Dainius Dirgėla, Decision made

by Rimas Uzgiris

Generally speaking, how can I be a Lithuanian writer writing in English? It is very hard indeed to belong to a national literature without writing in that nation’s primary language. Are there any examples of such?

Renata Palubinskas, Circus of Life, 2005

by Sandra Bernotaitė

Having multiple identities is exhausting—so I was told by a few people, and I agree. To find a refuge in language, to escape the contradictions and necessity to choose one identity—that is an easy way out for me as a writer. I chose not to give up the comfort, depth, or immediacy between my unconsciousness and consciousness that my native language gives me.

Vygantas Paukštė, Lost Lamb, 1994. Canvas, 90x110cm. From the MO Museum collection

by Donatas Petrošius

The truth is, for normal people, all poetry is a foreign language. All philosophy is a foreign language. All reality—seeing things as they really are—is a foreign language. If you have been gripped too tightly by reality, ontology or poetry, you may then find it difficult to switch back to everyday conversations.

Boy by Paulina Pukytė

by Paulina Pukytė

Our folk sculpture is wooden, religious, spiritual. The Pensive Christ. The Christ of Sorrow. Sad Christ. He’s not sad anywhere else but here!
Is he sad because we don’t have anything to be happy about?
Should we be happy that he is sad only here, in our country?
Do we like being sad?
We do. We are lyrists. Lyrical folk songs, traditional costumes, artificial braids.

Paulina Pukytė. On A Bench. 2014. Two found slides. From a solo project "Girls And Boys".

by Eglė Kačkutė

The latest writing about mobility and migration in Lithuanian is an almost exclusively female phenomenon and thus infuses the staple themes of literatures of mobility with an intensely gendered quality.

Photo by Dainius Dirgėla

by Antanas Sileika

Where else but here could I find such terrible histories that might make compelling novels? To people who live here, these types of stories are not really anything exceptional. They are the stories people heard from their parents or grandparents. But I was not here in Lithuania to hear them, so these stories never became “normal” to me.

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