Sonata Paliulytė’s Still Life

  
  
  
Sonata Paliulytė is a breath of fresh air in contemporary Lithuanian poetry. Her work has appeared in Lithuanian and international literary magazines. She has translated the work of American, Welsh and Scottish poets into Lithuanian, and her own collection, P.S., received the prestigious Young Jotvingis award for the best debut poetry collection. In 2009 she read at StAnza: Scotland’s International Poetry Festival. Still Life (Calder Wood Press, 2011) is her first collection in English. The poems are translated by Kerry Shawn Keys and Irena Praitis. Sonata lives in Vilnius.
 
Kerry Shawn Keys is an American poet, playwright and translator from Portuguese and Lithuanian. He was a Senior Fulbright scholar in Brazil, a Fulbright Professor in Lithuania and is a member of Lithuanian PEN.
 
Irena Praitis teaches at California State University, Fullerton. She is the author of One Woman’s Life, Branches and Touch.
 
 
 

 
 
“Here there is ice and snow, pain and beauty, hope and bitterness. These powerful poems lead the reader through wintry landscapes both internal and external, where every word and line has been measured, and where every response feels inadequate. Their flinty integrity makes you gasp at coldness hard and true, polished until it dazzles the eye.”
 
– Eleanor Livingstone, StAnza Festival Director
 
 
 
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Still Life
 
 
Four empty
beer bottles,
three more of oil,
cutting board
all cut up,
leftovers
of meat,
withered flowers
and mint tea
with lemon
and honey –
on the wooden table
with a lemon-colored
waxcloth, apples
and pears set.
Also, tiny chartreuse leaves,
for some contrast,
against the blue curtain
with its frayed ends.
Here it is,
the full-scale still
life, the whole kitchen
and caboodle.
Rich enough
in such a fretful autumn.
 
 
 
*
 
 
 
Silence
 
 
Your silence
said nothing,
as this moment
broke over my head.
I wanted
just one word –
but I don’t have even
a short prayer.
Sometimes you’re here,
then you’re a vanishing shadow
in our cracked life’s boat.
Far across the sea –
only sand and blue.
I’ll bear the blame.
  
  
  
  
from Still Life (Calder Wood Press, 2011).
 
Order Still Life.
 
 
 
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