Vaiva Grainytė

The author Vaiva Grainytė (b. 1984) writes poetry, essays and drama, and works on interdisciplinary theatre projects. Gorilos Archyvai (The Gorilla’s Archives) is the author’s first poetry book. She has also published a collection of travel essays, Pekino Dienoraščiai (Beijing Diaries, 2012). Saulė ir Jūra (Sun and Sea, 2017), the opera she created with co-authors Rugilė Barzdžiukaitė and Lina Lapelytė, won the Venice Biennale Golden Lion in 2019.

Critics describe the poems of The Gorilla’s Archives as avant-garde and surreal. They are essentially playful, reflecting on the ultimate strangeness of everyday objects and situations. Mannerisms and the magnified image of a poet are dismissed, while particularly detailed imagery and coarseness of language are retained. The effect of strangeness, even of the absurd, derives from surprising juxtapositions and unusual transformations. For instance, in the poem Saulės Išvaizda (The Appearance of the Sun), the sun, which is traditionally identified as female and associated with images of femininity in Lithuanian, shows up as a him – an ugly, obese, lecherous, emotional duke.

Employing hyperrealism and absurdism, Grainytė performs a novel investigation of conventional poetic themes such as waiting, falling in love, anger and traditional landscape. The second part of the book playfully analyses the problems of ecology and cosmopolitanism, exposing the tensions of the contemporary consumerist information society.

Foto: Andrej Vasilenko

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