‘Parted’ by Justina Semetaite. A Review.

Parted                                 (Click on the image to check out the book)

From making intellectual observations to relaying the most sensitive and cherished emotions and thought, poetry encompasses an innate ability to express and reflect the most intimate of emotions. That inspiration can derive from the most tangible source or simply, a moments’ pensive surrender.

In our first Literary Review, we take a look at the chapbook “Parted” by Justina Semetaite, published by CorruptPress in November, 2011. Justina was born in Lithuania, in 1989 and currently resides in Vilnius. Both the author and the chapbook deal with the subject of parting from the most intimate perspective conceivable. The eight poems displayed in the chapbook are written in a touchingly poignant manner. From reflecting on the separation from a homeland to the departure of a lover, the chapbook covers a wide spectrum of emotions that are profoundly articulated through a gritty and raw arsenal of metaphors.

All the poems are imbued with a deep sense of separation. Each title hinges on this overarching theme, vindicated by the motif within each title with words like “‘goodbyes, postcards”, culminating in the final poem “‘When we parted, things started dying and the city grew even bigger.’” Every poem in this chapbook resonates with that despair. A sense of longing is brought into the forefront with simple and accessible imagery that refracts the complexities of dealing with the subject of parting in a surrealistic form of poetic catharsis.

The last poem in the chapbook is an exceptional poem that with each line; carries thematic imagery that continues to accumulate (beginning from the first poem) throughout the chapbook. However, this, in no means, detracts from the quality of the other poems. There are great lines sewn into each work, but, as a critic, it would be negligence on my part, not to discuss this
concluding poem in further details.

‘When we parted, things started dying and the city grew even bigger’ is a poem that reflects on a failed love. It follows the narrative exposition of a memoir, with the stylistic freedom of a post-modern piece. The poet expresses her anguish and raw emotions through using intricate, classical allusions, as well as creating an entirely new set to draw from in future works.

The poem is told as a memoir of golden days laced in an undercurrent of bitter foreshadowing. It is perhaps enduring because of its juxtaposition between a hopeful beginning on the surface and the carefully construed cynicism lying underneath (that proves justified as the failure of the love prevails).

“I will ask you to bury me in the basement of your laughter and I will promise to be a shy flower, translating itself into dust “(lines 55-57). The constant recurrence of the motifs in the poem are embedded systematically throughout, The words and phrases are repeated constantly to reinforce the readers with a sense of impending, provocative empathy (not sympathy however) for the narrator of this poem.

‘Dying, Remember, Forgotten’ repeatedly used, reinforces the thematic overture of ‘Parted’. It completes the chapbook in terms of definition and resolution, attributing the sentiment of ‘Parting’ to deep rooted separation beginning from the opening lines of the first poem “The jelly shadows of the birds, sitting on the fence, teach me to fly with my eye” (Lines 1-3, I’m talking to myself about the good-byes’).

The line ‘The streetlights are of no use at all’(lines 131-132)  mimics the candor of W.H Auden’s ‘Funeral Blues’ to further illustrate the dramatic extent of that void of separation in all forms..

All eight of the poems in the chapbook share with us, a little part of the poet’s soul. An attribute any poetry enthusiast can perhaps, connect with.

I would recommend this chapbook to buy and read.(The link to purchase the book is placed on the cover)

In conclusion, I will perhaps ‘remember the dying things’ as was pointed out and use both the poet and chapbook to vindicate and highlight the search of young poetic talents like Justina Semetaite for ‘The Luxembourg Review’.

 Syed Shehzar Mukkarrim Doja

Founder and Editor-in-Chief
The Luxembourg Review

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*Next week we will continue our review with an exclusive interview with the poet*

*If you have any questions for the poet, please leave it on the comment section, we will do our best to include some of them in the interview*

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4 thoughts on “‘Parted’ by Justina Semetaite. A Review.”

  1. You just made me want to go on a book-shopping-spree! (My husband will kill me if I buy anymore books) The people in my life are divided into three. People who love reading but don’t have time, people who read but not the type of reading I fancy in particular and the people who don’t read anything but the newspaper! I am so glad I have your reviews so that I may pick and choose obscure and glorious writing. Hurrah!

    In Portuguése, there is a word to describe the longing for both a lover and the motherland, the nostalgia, the seperation and angst. It is Saudade. We don’t have one word in English to discribe all those feelings in one word. Perhaps we need a new loan word to English?

    I have a question for Justina: I remember seeing pictures of the USSR when I was growing up and thinking how bleak and oppressive socialism looked. Despite divergent histories, Eastern European counties seemed harsh and cynical in my mind, like a world without colour. Do you think this is something perceived by outsiders or is it in all reality true? Are Lithuanians cynical by nature?

    Thank you,
    Vidya

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Thank you Vidya for the kind words…I agree..we do need to bring that word into English. It reflects a very deep yet universal sentiment and that word with its connotations and history should be adapted into the english language(as so many different words are).

      I hope you can get your hands on a copy of the book to further understand the writer and her works.

      I will forward this question to Justina for the interview and we hope to address it there. Please subscribe to our blog and social media platforms (twitter and facebook) to stay in touch for the podcast,

      Sincerely,

      Syed Shehzar Mukkarrim Doja

      Like

  2. Thank you,
    There was not much to criticize about the book. It had seven small poems overlapped by the concluding nine page epic. I believe it deserved a positive review as it captured me emotionally yet managed to penetrate my love for great literary devices.

    Like

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