Film Screening “Reflections of Paradise according to B.M. Galdikas”

On September 22, the National Library of Lithuanian invited film fans to spend an hour in the jungles of Indonesia with Birutė Marija Filomena Galdikas, a Lithuanian-Canadian anthropologist, primatologist, conservationist, ethologist and author. “My real home is where my heart is—in the Kempliky National Park,” says one of the most famous anthropologists of the time, Dr. Galdikas. Although she rarely visits Lithuania, Galdikas always emphasizes her Baltic origin and love for her parents’ homeland.

In Indonesian tropical forests, Dr. Galdikas has spent more than 40 years studying and preserving “the last great monkey living in the trees.” During these years, the orangutans have almost disappeared due to the heavy logging and hunters who sell animals to individual buyers, as well as zoos or laboratories.

A few years ago, Neringa Skrudupaitė, a journalist and traveler, visited the Orangutan Rehabilitation and Conservation Center in Kalimantan, island of Borneo. After returning to Lithuania, she created a documentary film, “Reflections of Paradise according to B.M. Galdikas,” about Dr. Galdikas’s work with the endangered primates. The film captures the daily routine of a scientist’s work and the challenges she faces every single day.

Venclova’s Evening and the Exhibition

Tomas Venclova. Photo: National Library of Lithuania

In commemoration of the eightieth anniversary of Tomas Venclova, a Lithuanian-American poet, scholar, philologist, translator and a dissident, the discussion was organized in the National Library in Lithuania on September 11. The event called to reflect on Venclova’s contribution to the culture and the continuity of his works and thought in contemporary Lithuania.

On this occasion, the exhibition of photographs and books, “Tomas Venclova: That Is How the Word Approaches,” was opened in Vilnius Town Hall. One of the partners, the National Library of Lithuania, prepared a collection of Venclova’s poetry books. The exhibition invited acquaintance with poet’s poems in their original language and in their translations into twenty-three languages. Despite the rather complex strophic and rhythmic patterns of his poems—or perhaps because of them—Venclova’s poems have been translated not only into English, Russian, Polish, and German, but also into Albanian, Macedonian, Dutch, Danish, Finnish, Chinese, Japanese, Korean, and even Esperanto, among other languages.

Most of the publications were drawn from the Tomas Venclova Collection housed at the National Library of Lithuania.

Venclova’s Evening drew huge crowds. Photo: National Library of Lithuania

80th birthday of Tomas Venclova

September 11, 2017 marks the 80th birthday of Tomas Venclova, a prominent Lithuanian poet, intellectual and Professor Emeritus at Yale University, US. While living in Soviet Lithuania, Venclova became a dissident. He left the Soviet Union in 1977. In the United States, Venclova formed a triumvirate with two other émigré poets from Eastern Europe, a Russian poet Joseph Brodsky and a Polish-Lithuanian poet Czesław Miłosz. Having lived in the US for decades, Venclova is still very involved in the intellectual life of Lithuania and Europe. In his writings and by his personal example, the poet encourages the cultural and historical dialogue and challenges prevailing stereotypes. Venclova’s poetry, which blends history and personal experiences, has been translated into over 20 languages.

Venclova‘s poetry in the original language is available here >> 

Quotations from translations of Venclova’s poetry


Above all, though it’s hard, love language –

humbled in newspapers, obituaries saturated with lies,

in the bedroom’s close darkness, the informer’s confession,

in the cry at the bazaar, trenches, the stench of hospital wards,


in third-rate theatres, secret police offices, on lavatory walls.

In grey buildings where the stairwell’s shaft is guarded

by steel nets, so that it is not a man, but the century,

which selects the instant of his death


It was given so that we might be different from clay,

the palm, the thrush, perhaps even from angels,

so that by naming, we should grasp objects clearly.


From poem “Commentary”; translated by Ellen Hinsey


Although I won’t be able

To shake you, still I will,

I’ll put out every taper:

The tower and the bell,

The stony streets, the shore

Bedecked with tar, and even

My soul, though I’m not sure

It counts among the living.


Here, underneath my feet,

The shaky roadway crumbles.

The shooting range, unlit,

Conceals a dark-voiced rumble

Of waves, a vast expanse,

And, from the days of Noah,

Above the depths, the dance

Of Aquilon and Notus.

From “Ode to a City,” translated by Ellen Hinsey. According to Tomas Venclova, the poem was written as a farewell to Vilnius in 1974, when he decided to emigrate.

Focus on Jewish Diaspora and Its Heritage

A poster of European Day of Jewish Culture

For the first time the Judaica Research Center of the National Library of Lithuania participated in the annual program of the European Day of Jewish Culture. This year’s focus was on Jewish diaspora and its heritage. On September 4-5, an international conference “How to Commemorate the Great Synagogue of Vilna Site?” was organized by the NGO “Jerusalem of the North” in cooperation with the National Library of Lithuania. On September 4, the Judaica Research Center invited to a concert “History of Jewish Music” performed by the “Klezmer Klangen” ensemble. Lithuania and Vilnius in particular, have been one of the most historically important Jewish diaspora centers.