Lithuania’s Tomas Venclova is one of Europe’s greatest living poets. His work speaks with a moral depth exceptional in contemporary poetry. Venclova’s poetry addresses the desolate landscape of the aftermath of totalitarianism, as well as the ethical constants that allow for hope and perseverance. The Junction brings together entirely new translations of his most recent work as well as a selection of poems from his 1997 volume Winter Dialogue.
‘Every major poet has an idiosyncratic inner landscape against which his voice sounds in his mind… [Venclova’s] landscape is that of the Baltic in winter, a monochromatic setting dominated by damp and cloudy hues – the light of the skies condensed into darkness.’ – Joseph Brodsky
‘Venclova is a lyric poet of magisterial allure, committed to philosophical meditations…Part exile, part seer, he is the artist as witness and a living example of a literary elite that evolved in crisis yet remained true to the dictates of art.’ – Eileen Battersby, Irish Times
‘If in Venclova’s volume, Winter Dialogue, there is a concern with endurance, and a search for absolutes in the face of adverse conditions both in Lithuania and in exile, in his most recent work, The Junction, we find the figure of a poet returning from exile, surveying what has occurred, what buildings still stand, and the fates of those one loved. And while these poems are filled with melancholy at the passage of time, there is also a sense of affirmation. For despite everything, each element that is salvaged constitutes a form of victory – a testimony to all that can be, and is, preserved from the vicissitudes of History.’ – Ellen Hinsey