Literature as a European mother tongue: In our series “One is a CROWD”, we introduce you to authors from all over Europe who will be involved in the CROWD omnibus reading tour, taking place from May to July 2016, featuring 100 authors who will be travelling through 15 European countries. We asked them questions about text production, reception and mediation. In case you were wondering what a literary activist from Vilnius looks like, meet Benediktas Januševičius!
Who are you as a poet/writer/author/artist?
I am a poet who often participates in local slam poetry contests. I work with visual poetry. And I am a chronicler of Lithuanian literary life (photographer, video maker).
What kind of literary tradition, authors or concepts have you found inspirational for your work?
Daniil Kharms first of all. And few modernist poets.
Please name several contemporary authors who you think are most significant – in any possible sense – and why?
I am not an expert on world literature, so I can only mention those people, my neighbours and colleagues, whom I’ve met, seen and talked with: Latvian poet Inga Gaile, Russian writers Lev Rubinstein and Linor Goralik and also Ukrainian writer Serhiy Zhadan.
What do you think about the current state of the relationship between the author and the reader? Is there a mentionable shift in that relationship through new media as in terms of being alienated on the one hand or being enlivend on the other hand?
The best thing about new media is accessibility – author and reader can find each other on social media networks. My Lithuanian poetry channel “Ziemos zodziai” on Youtube has almost 250 thousand views. I think that it is a lot. Anyway, I think that your question is also the answer.
There always have been interactions and disputes between the discourses of poetry and politics. Do you see possibilities of emancipatory strategies concerning contemporary interactions between poetic and political discourses and agendas? What can/should/do these literary strategies look like?
The only possible emancipatory literary strategy is the oldest one – to write about politics, about things wrong and right, to pull them out into the light.
Photo: Vilma Fiokla Kiure