Agnė Zagrakalyte (born 28 April 1979, county Pasvalys) graduated in Lithuanian Language and Literature at Vilnius Pedagogical University, then worked as an editor of the teenagers’ pages for the magazines Active Connections, Lux/for the Young and for the literary weekly Literature and Arts. She lives in Brussels, Belgium. Her first poetry collection, I’m Getting Married, was awarded at the prestigious poetry festival The Poetic Autumn of Druskininkai in 2003.
The predominant theme of Agne Zagrakalyte’s poetry is the reflection of womanhood, its various forms and transformations. It is eloquently manifested by the title of her poetry collection I’m Getting Married – the Lithuanian word for it, “ištekėti”, means the outpouring of a liquid, which juxtaposes the way in which a woman marries (goes to) a man to that of water flowing out of a vessel or from its headwaters – this is how the image of the irreversible transformation is conveyed. The poetry of Zagrakalyte plays with social and cultural stereotypes of womanhood and experimentally explores the emotional states of a woman and their forms of expression. The erotic, the sensual bodily links and the relation to the objects of the immediate environment are of paramount importance in her poetry. Irony, sarcasm, intensive rhythm and deft imagination are characteristic features of her poetic voice. (from Young Artists )
A reading in Lithuanian atVilenica Festival.
And another poem translated in English for Days of Poetry and Wine Festival in Ptuj (Slovenia).
I speak of a handsome man,
good-looking as a young god, but the man is not young
glowing as a young god,
sharp and dry as wind
gaze-dimming god of poppies
humming god of sleep who throws sand in eyes
livid forehead of March
is lined by grim rivers
dark blue veins intersecting
at temples, which are soft as breeze in May.
wonder-wrinkles and worry-wrinkles
meet, hot breath of wind of June
on the fiery cage of the forehead.
wrinkle mesh – it is brittle,
my beloved is antiquarian,
soft are the silvery brows
but rough is their frosty grass,
dainty is the bow of lips
but too painful
are arrows it sometimes releases.
he ages fast – everything grows longer since it sags
even the face droops down –
nose gets longer, but the heart deepens,
picture of the young god swiftly splinters and chips –
leaving goat with pipes in its stead
strutting drunken satyr,
Pan, howling from love
the howl, that only wench, the swinging flower
who has returned to the state of plant, does not shy from –
a flute, shiny narrow-hips
village girl, a warm reed pipe
or a disposable willow whistle
that is cut out after the roll of thunder.
translated by Edgaras Platelis and Kerry Shawn Keys