Classic Lithuanian Literature Anthology

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Vytautas Mačernis

(1921 - 1944)


    Vytautas Mačernis is a youngest classic of literature, he was a beginner of modern Lithuanian poetry, and one of the most significant poets of his generation.
    Vytautas Mačernis was born on June 5, 1921, in Šarnelė, near Žemaičių Kalvarija. He went to Seda progymnasium, later to Telšiai gymnasium, which he had finished in 1939. In autumn of the same year he entered the Theology and Philosophy Faculty of Vytautas Magnus University in Kaunas, where studied English language and literature. In 1940 he moved to the Faculty of Humanitarian Sciences of Vilnius University. In 1941 he dropped English studies and began philosophy studies, which he continued until the closure of University in 1943. After the closure of University by Germans V.Mačernis returned to his native land and lived there until 1944. While being there, V.Mačernis wrote verses and sent them in letters to his friends. The verses were copied down by others, since by that time the works of V.Mačernis became popular among high school and University students and young intellectuals. In this way his poetry by manuscripts and copies became popular in Lithuania even before the death of a poet. When Bolshevik armies were forthcoming, V.Mačernis decided to retreat to the West, and perished near Žemaičių Kalvarija on October 7, 1944. He is buried in Šarnelė.
    V.Mačernis did not have time to publish a book of his poetry. The only entirely finished work of broader volume was "Visions", published for the first time in Rome in 1947.