Salomeja Neris

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The Lithuanian poet, Salomeja Neris was born in Kirsai in 1904. She graduated from the University of Lithuania, where she studied Lithuanian and German Language and Literature which she went on to teach.

Neris published her first collection of poems in 1927 titled, ‘In The Early Morning’. In her early publications, she contributed to nationalist and Roman Catholic journals. In 1931, she moved to Kaunas where she edited Lithuanian folk tales and continued to teach. In her second collection of poetry, The Footprints in the Sand, there is evidence of the onset of a profound spiritual crisis. From this time, she became more closely identified with pro-communist literary circles, for example a promise of her commitment to work for communism was published, however it was not written by her but by the chief ideological editor of Trecias Frontas.

Neris was more interested in writing poetry then in declarations, communist politics and theories about art. However, controversy continued to surround her involvement with the Soviet occupation and in particular the poem she wrote in honour of Stalin.  She spent WWII in the Russian SFSR (Soviet Federative Socialist Republic). However, near its end she returned to Kaunas but subsequently fell ill and died of liver cancer in a Moscow hospital. Her last poems show a deep attachment and affection for Lithuania.

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