In 2008 I was invited, along with Eleanor Livingstone, then Artistic Director of the StAnza Festival, to take part in the 4th International Poetry Festival at Utena, Lithuania. We’d been asked to submit three poems beforehand, for translation into Lithuanian. We met our translator at the first reading. Her name is Sonata Paliulytė, and we got to know her and her husband Kerry Shawn Keys during the course of the festival. Kerry, an American poet, playwright and translator, read his own poems, as did Sonata, and both writers were very well received by the audiences we had at all the venues. I blogged about the trip at the time.
The following year Sonata was one of two Lithuanian poets invited to read at the StAnza festival, along with Kerry, and I got the chance to hear her own poems translated into English. I liked them very much – she has her own distinctive voice, and her poems have a deep emotional content. At that point I had no thought of publishing her, but following an exchange of emails with Kerry, I agreed that Calder Wood Press would bring out her book. It will be available in July, and I’ve no doubt that many of those who heard her at StAnza will want to read her poems. The translators are Kerry Shawn Keys and Irena Praitis, who teaches at California State University, Fullerton.
The cover images, based on paintings by van Gogh, were suggested by Kerry and Sonata.