Lina ramona Vitkauskas (Lithuanian-Canadian-American, b. 1973) is the author of MOFA / Ministry of Foreign Affairs (Secret Airplanes Press, 2018); White Stockings (White Hole Press, 2016); SPINY RETINAS (Mutable Sound, 2014); Professional Poetry (White Hole Press, 2013); A Neon Tryst (Shearsman Books, 2013); HONEY IS A SHE (Plastique Press, 2012); THE RANGE OF YOUR AMAZING NOTHING (Ravenna Press, 2010); Failed Star Spawns Planet/Star (dancing girl press, 2006); and Shooting Dead Films with Poets (Fractal Edge Press, 2004).
In 2019, she was a participant (remote) in the first-ever World Lithuanian Writers’ Forum in Vilnius (presented by the Lithuanian World Community Organization, the Lithuanian Writers’ Union, and the Institute of Lithuanian Literature and Folklore), as well as an anthology contributor for the forum’s master publication. The aim of the forum is to contribute to the preservation of the national identity of Lithuanian diaspora writers.
In 2018, she was a panelist at the Association for the Advancement of Baltic Studies (AABS) conference at Stanford University, where she presented her cinepoems from the collection, White Stockings (in collaboration with visual artist, Tess Cortes).
In 2013, she was selected by Eleni Sikelianos for the Henry Miller Memorial Library Ping Pong Journal Award.
In 2009, she was selected by Brenda Hillman for The Poetry Center of Chicago’s Juried Reading Award, and she was also nominated by Another Chicago Magazine for an Illinois Arts Council Award in 2009.
Publications include Message Ahead: Poets Respond to Poems of Jonas Mekas (Rail Editions, 2018), La Vague Journal, Berfrois, Resist Much, Obey Little Anthology (Spuyten Duyvil, 2017), Rain Taxi, VIDA, Vilnius Review, The Conversant, Dusie (Canada), Jacket2, Atticus Review, POETBOOK, Spork, The Awl, Matter, Coconut, Tarpaulin Sky, Requited, DIAGRAM, TriQuarterly, The Chicago Review, The Toronto Quarterly, VLAK (Ed. Louis Armand, Edmund Berrigan), The Prague Literary Review, White Fungus (Taiwan; recently displayed at MoMA), and more.
In 2000, she earned an M.A. in Creative Writing from Wright State University, where she participated in a summer workshop with Nikky Finney, the 2012 National Book Award Winner in Poetry. She has served as the Chicago Poetry Correspondent of OmniVerse.
Lina was a faculty member and the marketing director at the Chicago School of Poetics, as well as the co-editor/designer of the 15-year-running online literary magazine, milk magazine (featuring Robert Creeley, Wanda Coleman, Ron Padgett, Michael McClure, and Japanese surrealist, Yamamoto Kansuke, among others).
For 14 years, she has been a part of Chicago’s poetry community in many capacities—as a reader, collaborator, co-curator, co-founder, organizer/facilitator, instructor, literary arts nonprofit director, and contest judge. Reading series Lina has been featured in and projects she’s been involved with include: Chicago Public Radio’s “Chicago Amplified,” Myopic Books, Danny’s, Red Rover (@ OUTER SPACE), Woman Made Gallery, Series A, Quimby’s, Balzekas Lithuanian Museum, Wĭt Rabbit, Dollhouse Reading Series, 100,000 Poets for Change, HUMAN MICROPOEM at Occupy Chicago, Discrete, Around the Coyote, Chicago Public Radio’s Future Perfect + New Media, Evanston Public Library, and many more.
Professionally, Lina holds certifications from Northwestern University (in philanthropy) DePaul University (pedagogy), TESOL certification from Global Leadership College (Toronto, Canada) and possesses more than a decade of experience as a senior-level copywriter, editor, and marketing strategist for major clients such as Sears, McGraw Hill, Target, and Northwestern University.
WHY EVAPORATING LANGUAGE PHOTOGRAPHER?
We are all evaporating. At this moment. We humans are made of more than 60% water. Water gradually evaporates as it is exposed to oxygen. Over time. We are losing water, shrinking, physiologically, but also, our chronological place in space and time on this physical plane evaporates. Never one moment the same as the next. Moments. Evaporate. Words on paper or screen, are arranged and captured for a moment. Poems exist, but the unique act of word arrangement for that moment in time is fleeting. This why I call myself a language photographer. I liken my poems to photographs, capturing a string of images or moments in that poem so that it may exist in its newly created form for that moment.