The Towers Turn Red


The Towers Turn Red by Sigitas Parulskis
Translated from Lithuanian by Liz O’Donoghue

Southword Editions, 2005, 64 pages
ISBN: 978-1-905002-07-8


At the core of this collection is a sequence of two-line, gravestone epitaphs, of the not-very-celebratory sort. The darker, pain-filled perspectives of living and dying are expressed uncompromisingly, sometimes surreally, sometimes with brute gothic realism. Sigitas Parulskis is the voice of a new Lithuania unshackled and demuzzled from unrealistic, official, Soviet optimism. His voice has such authority it guarantees him not only a place as Lithuania’s leading young poet but also fiction writer. Liz O’Donoghue’s experience as one of the generation of Irish who matured into the despairing 1980s of the green Banana Republic qualifies her perfectly for transferring Parulskis’ vision into a cutting, sardonic Hiberno-English.

“All Parulskis’ pieces in this collection show the same reduced, tight, held-back form. His poems have something of a sharp intake of breath about them, as if he is surprised or shocked by the experience. They create vivid and often disturbing images… he is an original voice.” – The Penniless Press