Laurynas Katkus brings to these poems in Bootleg Copy a broad range of historical and literary acumen. His learning – he is a polyglot with Russian, Lithuanian, English, and German literature at the budding finger-tip of his tongue – combined with an intense lyrical and emotional energy, gives his “flashbacks” and often personal narratives a nuanced understory that a reader or listener could explore for years. And yet the translucent surface, the clear, classical cadence of the vignettes of many of his poems, are readily accessible at a first reading. Katkus doesn’t indulge himself with playful and experimental obscurity, but rather goes to the heart and intelligence of post-Soviet Lithuanian reality, and the evolving landscape of a very hesitant EU Europe, especially Germany where he has spent considerable time and is a widely popular poet among the younger generation. No doubt his familiarity with Benn, Rilke, and Benjamin, help give him and his poetry access to a very contemporary mind-set, and way of being. For those who relish romantic poems that are well-wrought, intense, and sincere, open this book. For those who prefer a prosodic journey through the evolving energy of a contemporary Lithuania, open this book. And for those who wish to “bend over the steering wheel” of much of contemporary Europe and see “the cats-eye glitter in the asphalt”, then open this book, and the streets of these poems are essentially yours.
The translation is by the American/Lithuanian poet, wonderscript writer, and playwright, Kerry Shawn Keys, who has translated numerous books and selections from Lithuanian and Portuguese, among which are works by João Cabral de Melo Neto, Lêdo Ivo, Sigitas Geda, Sonata Paliulytė, Eugenijus Ališanka, and others.
cover design by vario burnos | workshop of concepts