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Eugenijus Ališanka  [ Lithuania ]

Biography

Eugenijus Ališanka Portrait
© Hartwig Klappert

Guest 2006.

Bibliography

Miestelėnai
Taura
Vilnius, 1991

Lygiadienis
Vaga
Vilnius, 1992

Vaizdijantis žmogus: sacrum sklaida kultūroje
Lietuvos rašytojų sąjungos leidykla
Vilnius, 1998

Dievakaulis
Lietuvos rašytojų sąjungos leidykla
Vilnius, 1999

City of Ash
[OT: Peleno miestas]
North Western University Press
Evanston, Ill., 2000
[Ü: Harvey L. Hix]

aus ungeschriebenen geschichten
DuMont
Köln, 2005
[Ü: Klaus Berthel]

Die Rückkehr des Dionys
ATHENA-Verlag
Oberhausen, 2006
[Ü: Klaus Berthel]

The Lithuanian poet Eugenijus Ališanka was born in 1960 in Barnaul, Siberia, the place where his parents had been exiled. After the family's return to their home country, he grew up in Vilnius, where he studied Mathematics, and upon completion of his studies became a member of the academic staff at the Culture and Art Institute. In 1991 he published the first volume of his almanac »Miestelėnai« (t: Towndwellers; second and third volume in 1995 and 1999), followed in the same year by his first collection of poems, »Lygiadienis« (t: Equinox), for which he was awarded the Zigmas Gėlė Prize for the most promising poetic début of that year. Following his residency at the Iowa Writers' Workshop his second collection of poems, »Peleno miestas« (1995; Eng. »City of Ash«, 2000), was translated into English. Selections of his work – four volumes of poetry and two books of essays – have also been published in French, German, Swedish, Polish, Russian and Finnish.
Ališanka worked as director of foreign programmes for the Lithuanian Writers' Union from 1995 to 2002, also organising the festival »Poetry Spring«. Since 2003 he has been editor-in-chief of the »Vilnius Review«, which presents contemporary Lithuanian literature in English. He has, moreover, become established as a translator, translating among others Zbigniew Herbert and Wisława Szymborska from Polish and Aleš Debeljak from Slovenian.
His own poems demonstrate a great capacity to integrate foreign influences, traditions, themes and motifs: Ališanka combines these with local images and autobiographical references, making use of individual modes of expression with great skill. His work – from its stream of language written in free verse without punctuation – reveals an openness to interpretation ranging from the tense to the ironic. Therein he shows us a new trait in Lithuanian poetry which does not limit itself to an encoded protest against Soviet heteronomy but rather opens itself to Europe with a sense of self determination, and newly balances its cultural autonomy. »The oft-attested postmodern constellation on which Ališanka meditates in his cultural essays is more than simply an attitude or short-lived trend. Rather, the essays interweave human experiences from around the globe... What older people commonly experience and label as loss and crisis, for many people from around the world also represents a slice of freedom and the opportunity for new aesthetic projects.« Thus writes Klaus Berthel on the latest volume of poems, »iš neparašytų istorijų« (2002; t: from unwritten stories). The next book to appear in Germany is the collection of essays »Die Rückkehr des Dionys« (2006; t: The return of Dionysus), Ališanka's second treatise on the problem of current representation following his study »Vaizdijantis žmogus: sacrum sklaida kultūroje« (1998; t: The representative human: The seed of the sacred in culture). The volume was awarded the Literature Prize by the Ministry of Culture of the Republic of Lithuania. The author lives in Vilnius and is currently a guest of the German Academic Exchange Service in Berlin.

© internationales literaturfestival berlin

BIBLIOGRAPHY:

Miestelėnai
Taura
Vilnius, 1991

Lygiadienis
Vaga
Vilnius, 1992

Vaizdijantis žmogus: sacrum sklaida kultūroje
Lietuvos rašytojų sąjungos leidykla
Vilnius, 1998

Dievakaulis
Lietuvos rašytojų sąjungos leidykla
Vilnius, 1999

City of Ash
[OT: Peleno miestas]
Northwestern University Press
Evanston, Ill., 2000
[T: Harvey L. Hix]

Dioniso sugrįžimas
Lietuvos rašytojų sąjungos leidykla
Vilnius 2001

Eugenijus Ališanka
Books from Lithuania
Vilnius 2005

Eugenijus Ališanka
© Ali Ghandtschi

Eugenijus Ališanka
© Ali Ghandtschi