New East Digital Archive

‘Feelings can occupy the resistance:’ 2 Latvian poems by Ligija Purinaša and Katrīna Rudzīte

‘Feelings can occupy the resistance:' 2 Latvian poems by Ligija Purinaša and Katrīna Rudzīte

4 February 2022

​Blending the personal and the political, Ligija Purinaša and Katrīna Rudzīte are part of the most recent generation of Latvian poets. Starting from collective and abstract ideas, the two poems below find strength in returning to concrete, individual experiences.


Written by Ligija Purinaša and translated by Jayde Will

our relationships are interpreted

like all historical sources

we have to compile an informational source,

systematise and analyse

we have to read additional literature, we need to describe the time,

space, author and text

we have to put forward the relevance, the issue

we have to understand the aims and tasks

we have to read the dossier before the annexation, and,

if that doesn’t work, feelings can occupy it,

liquidate the resistance movement, repress it,

perhaps it would be easier to surrender

we will destroy ideologically unfit phrases,

we will censor,

we will legitimise the struggle for power

and on an instinctual level we will sublimate everything

I am a small and serious girl

I don’t like your wooden blocks

Born in 1991, Ligija Purinaša is a Latgalian poet. In 2019, she published her debut collection entitled Sīvīte (Woman), which received the Latgalian Annual Culture Award. The book was also shortlisted for the 2020 Annual Latvian Literature Award, in the Debut category. Her work has been featured in The Last Model, an anthology of three Latgalian poets, which was published in the UK by Francis Boutle Publishers in 2020. Purinaša is the head of the MARTA Resource Center for Women in Rēzekne, Latvia.

the structures of memory

Written by Katrīna Rudzīte and translated by Jayde Will


it can happen that

addresses wars and important academic concepts

will need to be forgotten

in order to remember not what you told me

but how darkness wedged itself in the crack of the open door

a palm on one’s stomach

temporary resistance to the laws of space and time

the work of memory is so essential

psychoanalysts historians philosophers and others have underscored it

but now while carefully crossing a narrow bridge

and trying to avoid the bike riders

I have to remember all of this myself


to remember Roman numerals

because you can enumerate parts of a poem with them

to remember things you don’t know the names of

but their contours seem like they were brought closer by an inner aperture

sometimes they appear in the foreground of consciousness

to remember to buy toothpaste and black tights

to get an appointment at the doctor the birthdays of those most important to you

to remember to not say everything that comes to your mind

to count the glasses and in the middle drink water

to remember that you live on a planet regulated by the laws of cause and effect

people can start to despise you not greet you and avoid you

that you don’t go to bed at a reasonable time you sit too long at the computer

to remember that some people haven’t earned one iota of your time and attention

that bad dreams don’t foretell the future

that hell doesn’t exist

that you grew up long ago already and you don’t have to merge with the background

each time when someone looks at you disapprovingly or raises their voice

to remember that there are things which you are allowed to forget


people don’t remember what they had on and what they have said

sitting at the table during a specific year on a specific date

they also don’t remember what day of the week it was and what kind of lightening there was in the room

(you don’t need to remind them it will just make them uneasy)


you don’t remember all of the nonsense said while drunk

but if you suddenly

on some day

would remember all of that

in a split second all at once


there are also things

we simply agree to not remember

just like that drunken nonsense

like that which people have said on a specific date in a particular light



someone once wrote an online comment to you

if you think all of your thoughts to their conclusion you will suddenly find yourself together with the polyester walls

do you need that?


I think the time has come to admit

that we are connected by memory alone


does it seem to you that that changes something?


now I can answer you totally honestly

I don’t know anymore I have drunk so much that I can’t walk

I can’t tell the taxi driver my address – I don’t remember

Born in 1991, Katrīna Rudzīte (previously known as Katrīna Kuduma) is a Latvian poet. Her debut collection Saulesizplūdums (Blur of the Sun) earned her the Annual Latvian Literature Award in 2015. She writes about literature, culture, and social issues.

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