Justinas Marcinkevicius
Justinas Marcinkevičius was a prominent Lithuania
Lithuania , officially the Republic of Lithuania is a country in Northern Europe, the biggest of the three Baltic states. It is situated along the southeastern shore of the Baltic Sea, whereby to the west lie Sweden and Denmark...

n poet and playwright.

Life and career

Marcinkevičius was born in 1930 in Važatkiemis, Prienai district
Prienai district municipality

. In 1954 he graduated from Vilnius University
Vilnius University
Vilnius University is the oldest university in the Baltic states and one of the oldest in Eastern Europe. It is also the largest university in Lithuania....

History is the discovery, collection, organization, and presentation of information about past events. History can also mean the period of time after writing was invented. Scholars who write about history are called historians...

 and Philology
Philology is the study of language in written historical sources; it is a combination of literary studies, history and linguistics.Classical philology is the philology of Greek and Classical Latin...

 faculty with a degree in Lithuanian language
Lithuanian language
Lithuanian is the official state language of Lithuania and is recognized as one of the official languages of the European Union. There are about 2.96 million native Lithuanian speakers in Lithuania and about 170,000 abroad. Lithuanian is a Baltic language, closely related to Latvian, although they...

 and Literature
Lithuanian literature
Lithuanian literature concerns the art of written works compiled by Lithuanians throughout their history.-Latin language:A wealth of Lithuanian literature was written in Latin, the main scholarly language in the Middle Ages.-Lithuanian language:...

. He joined the Communist party in 1957. He worked for a number of years as vice-chairman of the board of the official Union of Lithuanian Writers. He died in Vilnius
Vilnius is the capital of Lithuania, and its largest city, with a population of 560,190 as of 2010. It is the seat of the Vilnius city municipality and of the Vilnius district municipality. It is also the capital of Vilnius County...


Literary style and themes

Having grown up during the post-war period, Marcinkevičius evokes in his poetry a romanticized version of childhood spent in the Lithuanian countryside, of first love, of man's relationship with nature. In his poetry specific and solid peasant thinking is combined with a mind seeking to draw broad general conclusions, and the tradition of Lithuanian poetry singing the Earth's praises with contemporary modes of poetic thought. As a poet, he has sought to grasp the essence of national experience and give it fresh artistic expression. In his lyrical verse Marcinkevičius strives to comprehend the real meaning of what is going on inside man and society and moves the reader with his ardent lyrical confessions.

For most his life Justinas Marcinkevičius lived and wrote during the complex times of Soviet totalitarianism
Totalitarianism is a political system where the state recognizes no limits to its authority and strives to regulate every aspect of public and private life wherever feasible...

. He defended the cultural self-awareness of his nation. The poet brought back humanistic idea in describing a man, continued on the romantic
Romantic poetry
Romanticism, a philosophical, literary, artistic and cultural era which began in the mid/late-1700s as a reaction against the prevailing Enlightenment ideals of the day , also influenced poetry...

 and lyric poetry
Lyric poetry
Lyric poetry is a genre of poetry that expresses personal and emotional feelings. In the ancient world, lyric poems were those which were sung to the lyre. Lyric poems do not have to rhyme, and today do not need to be set to music or a beat...

 tradition, valued the aesthetic side of literature, as opposed to the heroic and propagandistic style of socialist realism
Socialist realism
Socialist realism is a style of realistic art which was developed in the Soviet Union and became a dominant style in other communist countries. Socialist realism is a teleologically-oriented style having its purpose the furtherance of the goals of socialism and communism...

. Marcinkevičius wrote poems in a romantic and modern style. Justinas Marcinkevičius is regarded as one of the most prominent members of Sąjūdis
Sąjūdis initially known as the Reform Movement of Lithuania, is the political organization which led the struggle for Lithuanian independence in the late 1980s and early 1990s. It was established on June 3, 1988 and was led by Vytautas Landsbergis...


Awards and Acknowledgements

  • Lithuanian National Prize
    Lithuanian National Prize
    The Lithuanian National Prize , established in 1989, is an award granted for achievements in culture and the arts. It has been awarded annually in six categories since 2006...

  • National Advancement Prize in Culture (May 18, 2008)

Works of note

After the emergence of Marcinkevičius' first book I Plead for a Word in 1955, he has published fourteen collections of poetry, three historical plays, two collections of essays, a novella and various translations into Lithuanian.

Poetry and compilations

  • “Liepsnojantis krūmas” (The Burning Bush) (1968 m.),
  • “Gyvenimo švelnus prisiglaudimas” (The Gentle Cuddle of Life) (1978 m.)

  • Rhymed trilogy of dramas:
    • „Mindaugas“ (1968 m.),
    • „Mažvydas“ (1977 m.),
    • „Katedra“ (The Cathedral) (1971 m.).


  • „Dienoraštis be datų“ (A Diary Without Dates) (1981 m.),
  • „Tekančios upės vienybė“ (Unity of a Flowing River) (1994 m.)

He has also translated into Lithuanian works of Adam Mickiewicz
Adam Mickiewicz
Adam Bernard Mickiewicz ) was a Polish poet, publisher and political writer of the Romantic period. One of the primary representatives of the Polish Romanticism era, a national poet of Poland, he is seen as one of Poland's Three Bards and the greatest poet in all of Polish literature...

, Alexandr Pushkin, Sergei Yesenin
Sergei Yesenin
Sergei Alexandrovich Yesenin was a Russian lyrical poet. He was one of the most popular and well-known Russian poets of the 20th century but committed suicide at the age of 30...

, Mikhail Lermontov
Mikhail Lermontov
Mikhail Yuryevich Lermontov , a Russian Romantic writer, poet and painter, sometimes called "the poet of the Caucasus", became the most important Russian poet after Alexander Pushkin's death in 1837. Lermontov is considered the supreme poet of Russian literature alongside Pushkin and the greatest...

, and the Finnish Kalevala
The Kalevala is a 19th century work of epic poetry compiled by Elias Lönnrot from Finnish and Karelian oral folklore and mythology.It is regarded as the national epic of Finland and is one of the most significant works of Finnish literature...

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