Jonas Mekas Centennial

Jonas Mekas (1922-2019)

On Christmas Eve 1922, filmmaker, poet, “impresario of the avant-garde”,
Jonas Mekas was born in the farming village of Semeniškiai, Lithuania.
Today (Saturday) marks the 100th anniversary of this extraordinary seminal figure
(who passed away, in January, 2019, aged 96, energetic, active, inspirational, extraordinary, right to the very end)

The Jonas Mekas Centennial has been celebrated (suitably internationally) in events coordinated by the Lithuanian Cultural Institute throughout this past year, including, notably, “The Camera Was Always Running” – the first US Museum survey of his work – see here  and K.D. Davison‘s full-length documentary  Fragments of Paradise  – see Christian Blauvelt‘s sympathetic and attentive review of the film for IndieWire – here

(and see here for a Q & A about the film, from Doc NYC 2022 with Davison, Oona Mekas and Hollis Melton

For Jonas Mekas and Allen Ginsberg on The Allen Ginsberg Project – see here
– and here and here

From back in 2009 at The Poetry Project’s Annual New Year Marathon – here‘s Jonas with a poem by Rilke and a wonderful story about the cutting off of Allen Ginsberg’s beard!

Jonas, of course, was responsible for the 1997 documentary, Scenes From Allen’s Last Three Days on Earth As A Spirit

Here’s Jennifer Elster‘s video of Jonas reading and speaking  at the New Museum in New York on the death of Allen Ginsberg  (and incorporating some of that footage)

Two great spirits, no longer with us – much missed – Allen’s Centennial will be coming up in 2026

One comment

  1. Vyt Bakaitis, Jonas’ American translator, writes (a poem from his 2022 collection, Refuge & Occasion)

    Jonas Mekas at 90

    Our fields stay open
    to the sun’s charge
    late harvest claim
    a growing snow
    -borne quiet

    You make
    the night go
    your own way
    suspend in time
    a word you find

    And crack
    the sweet
    open on

    So extra
    -ordinary from
    the inside out
    as outside in

    To signify a world
    we haven’t seen
    or heard of yet

    Secured at every
    nomination of
    the breath

    In lifelong song

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