Tomas Venclova – My beginnings with poetry (16/88)

Well, my very first poems were dedicated
to the Hungarian Revolution. I can say with pride that many, many years later, when Hungary and Lithuania were free, I received a Hungarian medal for supporting
the Hungarian Revolution then through my poems. My poems, of course, were not published, but they were circulated amongst people,
people wrote them down. By the way, Kazys Boruta wrote them down and they almost ended up in a collection of
Boruta’s works after Boruta’s death, but my father noticed in time that
they weren’t Boruta’s work but mine and they were taken out of Boruta’s collected works. They are now part of my collection. Well, in a word, I began writing then. I wrote not just those political poems – the very first ones were indeed political,
were indeed poems about Hungary – but I also wrote on the subject of love and landscapes, I wrote about Klaipėda, the town where I was born, which I used to visit a lot then
and which I came to love very much. I wrote about Vilnius,
I wrote about my youthful, as it were, moods, what all young people were doing then. And I then began to be very… I began to be very interested in underground
Russian poetry, authors like Pasternak.

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