Lina Ramona Vitkauskas
Country of Origin
This cinepoem was created in January 2020 (pre-pandemic) and (perhaps prophetically) explores what it means to wear suits of natural instinct as we move through separations (especially in light of children being cruelly separated from parents at the US-Mexico border).
In my own experience: my parents were displaced people (born in post WW2 German camps, on to Brazil, Canada, and US), so seeing this Walter Oltmann exhibit at SAM (Seattle Art Museum) really evoked ideas of what it means to be “separate”. This is perhaps the fear we collectively recycle for the coming decade to finally resolve it.
Lina Ramona Vitkauskas (Lithuanian-Canadian-US, b. 1973) is an evaporating language photographer = award-winning cinepoet / poet. Her most recent collection of cinepoems, based upon her chapbook, White Stockings, is a collaboration with visual artist Tess Cortes and have placed as a finalist in the Festival Fotogenia of visual poetry (Mexico City); the Newlyn Film Festival (UK) and the Cadence Video Poetry Film Festival (Seattle). They have also been screened at the Association for the Advancement of Baltic Studies (AABS) conference at Stanford University as well as at the Ready Freddy Film Festival in Chicago.
She is the author of the poetry books: Between Plague & Kleptocracy: Invented Poetic Creations & Conversations of Seva & Bill (2020); Ministry of Foreign Affairs – MOFA (Secret Airplanes Press, 2018); White Stockings (White Hole Press, 2016); SPINY RETINAS (Mutable Sound, 2014); Professional Poetry (White Hole Press, 2013); A Neon Tryst (Shearsman Books, 2013); HONEY IS A SHE (Plastique Press, 2012); THE RANGE OF YOUR AMAZING NOTHING (Ravenna Press, 2010); and Failed Star Spawns Planet/Star (dancing girl press, 2006).
In 2020, she was awarded a PEN Relief Award, and in 2019, she was nominated by Spoon River Poetry Review for an Illinois Arts Council Award. In addition, she published an essay in an anthology dedicated to the poetry of Lithuanian filmmaker and Anthology Film Archives founder, Jonas Mekas, titled, Message Ahead: Poets Respond to the Poems of Jonas Mekas (Rail Editions – Brooklyn Rail). She also performed voice-over narration in the independent documentary film, George: The Story of George Mačiunas & Fluxus, which was directed by Fluxus taxi driver and artist, Jeffrey Perkins, and features Yoko Ono. The documentary has been screened at MoMA as well as in Amsterdam, London, and Vilnius.
Lina is past winner of the Henry Miller Memorial Library Ping Pong Journal Award (selected by Eleni Sikelianos) and of The Poetry Center of Chicago’s Juried Reading Award (selected by Brenda Hillman).
In 2000, she earned an M.A. in Creative Writing from Wright State University, where she participated in a summer workshop with Nikky Finney, the 2012 National Book Award Winner in Poetry.
In 2018, she was a participant in the first-ever World Lithuanian Writers’ Forum (presented by the Lithuanian World Community Organization, the Lithuanian Writers’ Union, and the Institute of Lithuanian Literature and Folklore), as well as an anthology contributor for the forum’s master publication, and in 2009, she was nominated by Another Chicago Magazine for an Illinois Arts Council Award for her short fiction.
Lina has served as faculty member and marketing manager at the Chicago School of Poetics as well as the co-editor/designer—with poet Larry Sawyer—of the 20-year-running online literary magazine, milk magazine (featuring Robert Creeley, Wanda Coleman, Ron Padgett, Michael McClure, and Japanese surrealist, Yamamoto Kansuke, among others).
For 20 years, she was part of Chicago’s poetry community in many capacities—as a reader, co-curator, collaborator, co-founder, organizer/facilitator, contest judge, and instructor—and was featured in the following reading series/projects: Woman Made Gallery, Myopic Books, Danny’s, Chicago Public Radio’s “Chicago Amplified,” Red Rover @ OUTER SPACE, Series A, Quimby’s, Balzekas Lithuanian Museum, Wĭt Rabbit, Dollhouse Reading Series, 100K Poets for Change, HUMAN MICROPOEM at Occupy Chicago, Around the Coyote, Chicago Public Radio’s Future Perfect + New Media, and many more.