Closure of Conference project. Post-Conference Plans

Many many thanks to everyone who participated in the conference, to all those who presented papers, read their poetry or translations, contributed to discussions or just came to listen.

This blog will remain open as a record of the conference proceedings and will continue to include the programme, the abstracts of the presentations and the short biographies of the participants.

We have removed the conference papers from this site because we intend to include revised versions in a post-conference book. This book will not be a representation of the conference proceedings as such, however, but a volume of articles roughly reflecting the structure of the conference. The book will be edited by Ursula Philips, supported by a team of advisers (Urszula Chowaniec, Knut Andreas Grimstad, Kris Van Heuckelom and Elwira Grossman). It is expected that the volume will appear in 2013.

Should anyone wish to contact the authors of papers or read the original papers, please contact the conference organizer.

Thursday, August 25, 2011

Mindaugas Kvietkauskas (Institute of Lithuanian Literature and Folklore, Vilnius)

Poet as Mediator: Milosz and Local Memory

Czeslaw Milosz perceived the loss of local belonging, displacement and uprootedness as one of the crucial problems and experiences of a modern individual. He many times underlined his own attachment to the obscure and far-away native provinces, his lost places of origin as a necessary cure to the futility of modern imagination, and stated that the full emancipation of an individual from the concrete place leads to artistic and intellectual mimicry (The Roadside Dog). However, the symbolic return to the sense of place is a very complicated act for a modern self, especially in the situation of exile, and in Milosz‘s texts this effort turned into constant search for a specific formula of mediation between the individual identity and the identity of place. In his own biography and writing the problem of return to a concrete locality was largely connected with the ongoing attempts to revisit his native country – first in literary work, especially in the famous novel The Issa Valley and the long poems City Without a Name and The Rising of the Sun; after 1990, in the late period of life, Milosz’s return to Lithuania also took place in reality, resulting in late poetical cycles and essays about the experience of re-entering ones original place. These texts attest to the specific understanding of poets or narrators position: the dialogical mediation between his own personal memory and the deeply perceived personality of the place. Because of that attitude, in twentieth-century European poetry Milosz imparted original meaning to the concept of human geography that is increasingly important for the humanities at present.