Lithuanian Culture Institute
Lithuanian Culture Guide, Poetry

Kornelijus Platelis

Photo by Algimantas Aleksandravičius

Kornelijus Platelis (b. 1951) is a poet, translator and essayist. Following his graduation from the Vilnius Construction Engineering Institute, he took different jobs in construction organizations. He has been a Vice-Minister of culture and education, the Deputy Mayor of Druskininkai, and a State Minister of education and science. Since 2001 he has been Editor-in-Chief of the cultural weekly Literatūra ir menas. Platelis is a member of the Lithuanian Writers’ Union (from 1988) and the Lithuanian PEN Centre (from 1989), and served as its Chairman from 1991 to 1995. Since 1990 he has been Chairman of the Board of the Druskininkai Poetry Fall.  

Platelis is the author of eight collections of poetry, and translator of several volumes of American and European poets into Lithuanian. He also has a broad array of literary and cultural essays to his credit. His work, which explores opportunities for both personal and social liberation and freedom, as well as individual and collective ethical realignment in the labyrinths of history and myth, has been translated into twenty-four European and Asian languages and has received many honours and prizes, including all the major literary awards in Lithuania. 

In his latest collection of poems, Įtrūkusios mėnesienos (Ruptured Moonlight, 2018), the poet skilfully shifts between different poetic registers and masks. The first two chapters feature confessional poems. The topics are mainly old age, the workings of the inner world as a mechanism (Platelis invokes this metaphor to describe the subject’s mind), the (im)possibility of a connection with others, and the secret of death and decline. A screen made of glass or plastic is one of the most important images that reflects the state of existence in the world – the speaker of the poems is simultaneously with the others, and close to the others, but separated from everyone by an invisible wall.  In the second part of the collection, images of ancient and Eastern poetry are employed to construct the erotic myth. In Platelis’s poems, Eros is the access to holiness and the beyond. The last chapter is dedicated to issues of the contemporary world that are revealed through elegant humorous miniatures.  

Selected translations

English: Alternating Masks. Translated by Jonas Zdanys. New York: Black Spruce Press, 2021

Solitary architectures: selected poems. Translated by Jonas Zdanys. Beaumont: Lamar University Press, 2014

Slovenian: Egejsko vino. Translated by Andrej Rozman. Ljubljana: KUD Apokalpisa, 2011

Bulgarian: 83 Kлопки за вятър. Translated by Aksinia Mihailova. Sofia: Foundation for Bulgarian Literature, 2010

Italian: Invito a posporre il viaggio / Kvietimas atidėti kelionę. Translated by Pietro U. Dini. Salerno: Heimat, 2007

Translations on-line: