Lidija Šimkuté


Lidija Šimkuté is a bilingual poet. Her multidimensional poetry evokes primordial imagery, emotional tension, spiritual longing, life’s fragility, mystery and particularly silence.

Lidija was born in a small village in Samogitia, Lithuania, 1942. Her parents fled from Soviet occupation during WWII so Lidija spent her early childhood in displaced persons camps in Germany and came to Australia in 1949.

Lidija Šimkuté was keen to maintain and extend her Lithuanian language so furthered her studies in language, literature, folklore and history by correspondence through The Lithuanian Language Institute in Chicago, United States (1973-78) and went to Vilnius University Lithuania (1977 and 1987).

Lidija Šimkuté has three book published in Lithuanian and five bilingual poetry books, two of which are translated into German and Polish, and a broadsheet in English.

There are also three bilingual CDs:Tylos erdvés/Spaces of Silence, Véjo žvilgesys/Wind Sheen, Balti šešéliai/White Shadows with music inserts.

Lidija Šimkuté writes in Lithuanian and English. There are Lithuanian publications in Kulturos Barai, Literatura ir Menas, Metai, Nemunas, Šiaurés Aténai and other literary journals. English publications in Meanjin, Southerly, Mattoid, Five Bells, Overland, Wet Ink and other journals in Australia, Lituanus in United States, Vilnius and Vilnius Review in Lithuania: The Shop in Ireland as well as other journals in Holland, Romania and United States.

Šimkuté’s poetry is included in various anthologies in English, Lithuanian and translations into other languages. Lidija has given interviews and bilingual readings on radio in Australia, Lithuania and elsewhere.

Šimkuté’s poems have been translated into thirteen languages.
Lidija has translated Australian poetry/prose (incl. David Malouf’s novel
An Imaginary of Life); other works from English into Lithuanian, including poetry and prose of Samuel Beckett; J.M. Coetzee’s Nobel speech:
He and His Man; Jelalludin Rumi’s poetry; a long poem: Thunder Perfect Mind from The Gnostic texts, and other works.

Lidija has given poetry readings in various parts of the world, at a number of local and International Poetry Festivals. Poetry was read at a Dance Instillation project WWW for Weereewa / Lake George Festival, in
Australia, and in Dreaming the Deep performed in Europe, 2002.

Her poetry Spaces of Silence was used for a theatrical performance directed by Gediminas Sederavicius with author’s poetry reading, modern dance, percussion and shakuhachi – staged in Vilnius, Klaipéda and Kaunas in 2005.

Lidija Šimkuté’s poem “My Father” was short listed for Poem of the Millennium at Poetry Festival in Australia 2004 and read on ABC TV Arts program.

Lidija has received poetry grants from Australia Council, South Australia Dept. for the Arts and the Lithuanian Australian Foundation.

Further information: , go to Culture/ Literature/ Lidija Šimkuté
Lidija Šimkuté’s Website:

With children’s laughter

The day began

But was stilled in the uncertainty
  of evening

I left behind
  the frayed moon

With this knife
Cut me a slice of time

I yearn for daily bread
from your hands

From Friendly Street No. 20

The Blue Wool

hung entangled
  in her hands

she clung to the wool
and followed the thread
  to its end

she buried her hands
in the sand

her eyes entered clouds
her hair spread dune grass

with lips of coral
she touched blue sand

and lost her fingers
  to the sky

From Friendly Street No. 25

Now that we are parting

rain has returned
I want to be nothing
only the fragrance of some
  scattered rose
and pass like smoke

now that we are parting
the music will fall and settle
in the pages of your books
and wait to be opened

now that we are parting
my eyes follow invisible birds
  across the ceiling
hands become wind
and earth turns faster than
  a night ago
I leave a white cloud in your hands

now that we are parting
I will dress in rain and
watch the warmth
behind some distant window slowly
  take on your name

From Friendly Street No. 25