There is No Ithaca

by Jonas Mekas

Two classic poem cycles in Lithuanian and English
Translation by Vyt Bakaitis
With a Foreword by Czeslaw Milosz
ISBN 0-9628181-1-9

Idylls and Reminiscences, the two poem cycles contained in There is No Ithaca were written between 1947 and 1951 and published in Lithuanian editions. They have become part of the classic repertory of modern Lithuanian literature. Mekas is considered to be one of the best poets of Lithuania. This is the first English edition.

“His sensitivity to unrepeatable light, color, scents of his native region, in the north of Lithuania, as shown in Idylls is that of a visionary who lifts the most earthly details of reality to a higher level of intensity…”

—Czeslaw Milosz, from the Foreword

“He writes as a witness to epical happenings–vast changes in ways of living and in entire nations–with a love for what is past that is more powerful than nostalgia, with a passion for living that caresses every present blessing.”

—Ray Olson, Booklist

“…There’s a lot of country in these poems, a prisoner’s nose for fresh air so seldom breathed, an exile’s feel for mud and stubble that his feet understand. These poems are what an honest young man answered when the world was shouting louder than most of us have heard. He knew even then to judge the weight of words, the light and dark of them.”

—Robert Kelly

Vyt Bakaitis is the author of a book of poetry, City Country. He has contributed many poems and translations to literary publications. A selection of his translations (Holderlin, Mickiewicz, and Mekas) will be included in Norton’s forthcoming World Anthology of Poetry.
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