Lina ramona Vitkauskas

poet | evaporating language photographer

New Poems – Nov 2015

Back to the machines

Reticulation, a cross-section

of damp beings, muscles &

cords stored; all eyes, sight

for the sore of them,

stacked in plastic baskets,

all spot this infidelity-diced

reality; we reveal our

bodies inside the rocket,

no matter how small the matter,

how futile the genes,

how executable the modules—

no matter which chromosomes—

all crate the cosmos

like watching war

through waterholes.





Picked my throat clean

with a fountain pen; you

regret. I’ve got this same

kidnapped feeling in the

grout of my blood / it followed

me to your bedroom,

burnt your quiet, dry dreams

as we

milkpod fingers & mead lips

we shred the majority of us,

birch & goldenrod

me always running to the center

of the pond where I fell


cut deep.

The violin through the

windows tonight,

practicing. The Swiss

requiring their tax forms.

I ruin you in false light.


I recently arrived at the intersection of two personal discoveries and a small poetic experiment—Umwelt—was the result (poems are being collected and edited currently).


So here we had a:

A vague genealogical connection


An old MySpace “diary” from 2005

= Umwelt (German = “environment”)


Jakob Johann Baron von Uexküll

I uncovered that I am likely, loosely “related” to Jakob Johann Baron von Uexküll (1864 –1944), a Baltic-German biologist who established biosemiotics as a field of research. Baron von Uexküll was always presented to me as a possible great uncle, via my paternal grandmother, who claims her aunt (her mother’s sister, Marija Kulvietis) “married” a baron of this name, who met her in St. Petersburg, Russia, and instantly fell in love with her.

The story my grandmother told me once is a romantic one. She was a young beauty in the late 1890’s (turn of the 20th century), and Baron von Uexküll—an older man—allegedly wooed Marija with many gifts. On Marija’s birthday (in Russia) he stacked a pyramid of cigar boxes—each with a small gift inside—in the foyer of his home (?). She was overcome with such happiness and wonder—each box—hundreds of them stacked nearly to the ceiling—revealed a tiny, beautiful prize inside: chocolates, jewel-crusted hairpins, velvet ribbons and bows, brooches, earrings, dried or fresh blossoms…anything he could find that had significance/meaning to her. It is interesting to note that Baron von Uexküll had a wife, Gudrun Baroness von Uexküll, and three children— Sophie Luise Damajanti von Uexküll, born in 1904, when Baron von Uexküll was 40 years old; Karl Kuno Thure Baron von Üxküll, born in 1908, when Baron von Uexküll was 44 years old; and Gustav Adolf Gösta Baron von Uexküll, born in 1909.

So it’s less possible my great-aunt Marija married to Baron von Uexküll, and most possible she was a love interest before the Baroness (née Gräfin von Schwerin). Baron von Uexküll would have been age 26-28 and my great-aunt Marija perhaps 18-21.

Uexküll was born in Estonia. His family lost most of their fortune during the Russian Revolution. He took a job as professor at the University of Hamburg where he founded the Institut für Umweltforschung (Institute for Environmental Research).

Biosemiotics, & Umwelt

Broadly, biosemiotics (Greek = “bios” = “life”, and “semeion” = “sign”) studies forms of communication and signification within—and between—living systems. It’s the study of representation, meaning, sense, and the biological significance of codes and sign processes—from genetic code sequences to intercellular signaling processes to animal display behavior to human semiotic artifacts (such as language and abstract symbolic thought).

In other words: from the chemical passwords that a sperm cell must excrete in order to obtain access to the egg, to mating rituals, bird song, and formation of alliances among chimpanzees—semiotics can be a central tool set for biology and the medical sciences.

Uexküll’s most notable contribution to biosemiotics is the notion of umwelt, (German = “environment”). He was interested in how living beings perceive their environment(s), and argued that organisms perceive the experience of living in terms of species-specific, spatio-temporal, “self-in-world” subjective reference frames that he called umwelt (translated as milieu, situation).

So he meant umwelt as an organism’s external environment AND its inner world.

The umwelt is composed of two parts, the innenwelt or self-oriented features, and the umgebung, or world-oriented features. Together, they describe the individual’s subjective viewpoint, or embedding, which has the property of being ubiquitous, as compared to the observer’s objective viewpoint, which has the property of being universal.

Every living organism creates its own world, its own reflection of the surrounding environment and acts in this environment according to this reflection. Living organisms are not passive objects of the operation of natural laws, but active subjects that influence the processes in nature.

Jesper Hoffmeyer, Professor Emeritus at the Biological Institute of Copenhagen University, explains it best: “All living things have an inside that relates to an outside.”

Uexküll’s ideas about how organisms create their own concept of time are described in Peter Høeg’s novel Borderliners, and contrasted with Isaac Newton’s view of time as something that exists independent of life.

2012 Nov 27 – Science & Cocktails, Jesper Hoffmeyer


Fifteenth Annual Gathering in Biosemiotics – Copenhagen 30 June to 4 July 2015


International Society for Biosemiotic Studies



Biosemiotics: Information, Codes and Signs in Living Systems




Slovak Academy of Sciences


Jakob Johann Baron von Uexküllüll

White Stockings – eBook on Amazon


I am very pleased to announce that my new ebook, White Stockings is now available on Amazon. 

So if you have a Kindle, purchase away and dive into some poetry. From every book purchase, I will donate $2 to the Ukrainian Federation of America for humanitarian aid.

About White Stockings – Summary + Commentary
The ebook addresses the Ukrainian crisis via the poetic stories of fictionalized Baltic women snipers. From April 2014 to the present, I have been dedicatedly tracking the news events surrounding the Ukranian crisis. As a Lithuanian-American with family members closely tied to the tragedies and oppression of the annexation of the Baltic states by the Soviet Union (post WWII to the 1990s), the series of events happening in Ukraine is saddening. Innocent women and children comprise much of the 6,000+ death toll. As a result of the destruction throughout villages and towns in Eastern Ukraine, many are homeless and have become refugees.

Fellow family and friends still living in/traveling regularly to Lithuania and Ukraine are beyond nervous and outraged by Putin’s recent geopolitical moves. It is all too familiar, and propaganda flows freely.

Let’s be clear: With Putin’s direct knowledge and under his orders, Russia illegally annexed parts of Ukraine. 

As I write this post today, NATO commanders are pleading with Russia to stop fueling the fighting during what was supposed to be a ceasefire.

My goal with this project was to raise awareness of the conflict by turning a violent metaphor on its head. My hope is that there will be peace and stability on the region soon. Ukraine deserves to remain free and independent without fear of its dictatorial neighbors devouring provinces as was done in the Soviet era. That time is over.

Make no mistake, the issues of the region are complex, beginning with the root: energy sources. Russian propaganda will turn the conversation to how the West is the aggressor and imperialist, bring up painful anti-Semitic accusations, and purport that Ukraine is the instigator (and even the perpetrator of violence against its own people) to prove that separatist action is justified. There was no justification for Russia to annex parts of an independent country that no longer belongs to them. The logic here is skewed: should we return to centuries’-old maps of the Ottoman or Roman Empires to justify amassing land? Or what of the argument that mostly “Russian-speakers” live in the areas being annexed and completely support being part of the motherland once more?

This is about natural gas and money, which turns the conversation rightly to the benefits of EU and US becoming green…much, much larger issues. Currently, about a quarter of European Union gas comes from Russia, and at least half of that supply flows through Ukraine.

How do we we want to live: peacefully, globally, sustainably OR power-mad, warring, isolationist, and all-consuming? If the latter factors rule the day, how does humanity evolve—see the bigger picture? To pose this question, I use the metaphor of precision in my poetry collection: via the sniper scope: what is blurred or clearer outside the range or what is narrow-minded, calculating, and fixated?


Order here. $2 of every book purchase goes to the Ukrainian Federation of America for humanitarian aid.


White Stockings – Teaser Cinepoetry

I’ve been tirelessly working on a new poetry manuscript called WHITE STOCKINGS for the last year (since the unrest erupted in Ukraine). As a Lithuanian-American, I strongly support Ukraine’s right to independence. I stand with many in the Baltic countries who are banning together to back the Ukrainian people. My contribution is small, it is an artistic/poetic examination of Russia’s tendency to eye, spy, and dominate her neighbors. This is a teaser, a first, short cinepoem I produced myself. More to come…


Sheep Year


Sheep year is time to heal after the chaos of 2014’s Horse year. What is of value now is intimacy, family and close friendships. We can be more caring, kind and sensitive with each other. Develop a gentle heart, open to love and acceptance on all levels. Another theme of Sheep year is to express your creative side. Now is the time for art, creativity and cultivation of beauty. If you ever wanted to explore your creative side, this is your year. Do not give up, be pessimistic or become discouraged because Sheep can only move forward! This animal is unable to move backwards or sideways. Sheep year is most fortunate for Sheep, and for Sheep’s most compatible signs Rabbit, Horse and Pig. Sheep correlates to the Western sign of Cancer.

Cosmic Points

“The universe is an infinite sphere, the center is everywhere and the circumference is nowhere.”

Missionary Okiagari

Now this quiet seems quiet.
Now these pallid proclivities.
Now I swallow hard behind
the chickadee tree, 
institutional glass,
ugly starfruits. 
Now little Poetry Priest
gets up. 
Now thick, round rainmaker
tightens laces 
woven through bootholes.
Now seahorses swallowing my toes.
Now here’s your big brash girl—
with a spadix in her teeth, wanting so much.


Okiagari-koboshi, “the getting-up little priest” is a traditional Japanese doll. The toy is made from papier-mâché and is designed so that its weight causes it to return to an upright position if it is knocked over. Okiagari-koboshi is considered a good-luck charm and a symbol of perseverance and resilience.




Language Straddle


6 – Do you have any theoretical concerns behind your writing? What kinds of questions are you trying to answer with your work? What do you even think the current questions are?

Russian sociolinguist Bakhtin wrote of heteroglossia, the idea of language hierarchy or conflict within the mind and how it influences language decisions. This meant quite a large deal to me having spoken Lithuanian primarily as a child, and then English, and then studying Spanish. Soon, there was a distinct “language straddling” going on within me and I became rather entertained by the notion of being able to switch between and/or amalgamate words, if necessary. I believe this theory plays a large role in my loose method of writing. It at least fuels the playfulness in my work. Montaigne wrote of the meaning of “to essay” and referred to the Latin translation “to test” or “to try”. Early in my master’s study, I was quite drawn to this notion and still view the process through this lens.




Pistils, blunt florets

here at rest and in motion

your tender components

organic and aqueous

your voice sweet pollen

in my lungs

like pending interrogatives


The geometry of your blooming eyes

is a spider under an atom bomb

running your perfect brush across me


shut off as a Cadillac mastodon

over my love months

and now dawn to you

vaporous skin I loved you


unraveling in your arms

like an 8mm film


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