I’ve written and produced my final poetry book, Ministry of Foreign Affairs (MOFA). It took roughly two years to write. After one year of a frightening, violating political climate and three years’ estrangement from my family, this book was a labor of necessity. MOFA is an epigenetic poetic diary that explores inherited trauma from my mother’s side of the family (displaced from North Caucasus -> Lithuania -> Brazil -> Canada -> US) and my father’s side (displaced from Lithuania -> Germany -> US).
The book is now available via Lulu from Secret Airplanes Press.
I want to sincerely thank Robert Hansen at Poems-For-All for publishing two of my poems as mini-books to be “scattered like seeds” into the universe.
Here’s a brief cinepoem teaser to re-introduce my poetry collection, White Stockings (2015/2016). I put this together in Adobe Spark in about 5 hours (my second attempt at video production/editing). I’m collaborating with an actual, real-life, super-talented visual artist, Tess Cortes (check her out, she’s quite amazing). I’ll be unveiling about 5-6 cinepoems at the AABS Conference at Stanford in June.
My poetry book, White Stockings, is available on lulu.com, however, I’ve been creating a series of cinepoems based upon it. The video below is my first attempt, using my own still photos from a “White Stockings”-inspired photo shoot in 2015. It was created in iMovie, before I started tutoring myself in Adobe Premiere.
The Master Plan—an investigative documentary that explores the methods through which Russia influences the domestic policy of the Baltic States—was successfully screened at The Music Box Theatre in Chicago on November 13, 2017, and in December at the Chicago Ukrainian Cultural Center.
The film explores how Putin’s propaganda machine has been implemented in the Baltic States—well-known to leaders in Lithuania, Latvia, and Estonia for years—dividing the local community, promoting nostalgia for the Soviet Union and dismissing the recovered independence of the Baltic States.
I am grateful to all who donated. We raised $1,500 to bring the film here and I was then able to coordinate an expert panel of guests to comment on the film, including one of the filmmakers from Latvia (by way of NYC) and two General Consuls. (Note to self: next time, don’t try to single-handedly plan an event + fundraise + work full-time. Extra special thanks to Larry Sawyer for moral support, helping to get the film poster made, and manning the ticket table.)
Robert Blumberg, Honorary Consul General of Latvia; Mantvydas Bekesius, Consul General of Lithuania, Chicago; Lina Ramona Vitkauskas, poet and activist; Inga Springe, Investigative Journalist, Founder of Re:Baltica; Artis Inka, Editor of Čikaga, at the Music Box Theatre
THE MASTER PLAN
dir. Juris Pakalniņš, 52′, Latvia/Lithuania/Estonia, 2016
Production company: Mistrus Media | www.mistrusmedia.lv
In Co-production with Monoklis (Lithuania), Allfilm (Estonia)
National Film Centre of Latvia
State Culture Capital Foundation
Lithuanian Film Centre
Creative Europe programme of the European Union
Estonian Public Broadcasting
Lithuanian Radio and Television
I’m very honored to be published in the Vilnius Review this month!
The editor—Marius Burokas—was recently interviewed in a local Lithuanian arts and culture newspaper, Bernardinai, mentioning the growing desire of poets and writers in the diaspora to bridge the gap with their native counterparts. Marius was kind enough to mention me as one the poets in the US and Canada who seek to participate in future Lithuanian-sponsored book fairs and readings.