(in Lithuanian, Néris Salomėja; pen name of Bačinskaité-Bučiené). Born Nov. 4 (17), 1904, in the village of Kirsiai, in what is now Vilkaviskis Raion; died July 7, 1945, in Moscow. Soviet Lithuanian poet; People’s Poet of the Lithuanian SSR (title awarded posthumously in 1954).
The daughter of a peasant, Neris graduated from the University of Kaunas in 1928 and began teaching. She first appeared in print in 1923. Her first collections of verses were In the Early Morning (1927) and Traces on the Sand (1931). Her early lyric poetry was imbued with joie de vivre and with a clear romantic perception of the world; it also showed the influence of symbolism. Gradually protest against the oppression of the individual by the bourgeois society and against clericalism emerged in her poetry. Neris directed her attention to the simple workers, developing an intimate understanding of their lives. Her poetry showed a transition from romantic symbolism to realism.
In 1931, Neris broke with the small literary bourgeois groups and joined the antifascist writers grouped around the journal Trečias frontas (Third Front). Between 1931 and 1934, her verses appeared in the illegal Communist press. In the collections Across the Breaking Ice (1935) and I Shall Bloom Like a Diemedčis (1938), Neris condemned social injustice and extolled heroic deeds performed in the name of the people’s happiness. During these years her poetry attained genuine artistic maturity. In 1940 she published Eglė, Queen of the Snakes, a narrative poem based on folk motifs.
After Soviet power was restored in Lithuania in 1940, Neris was chosen a member of the plenipotentiary commission of the People’s Seimas of the Lithuanian Republic; in 1941 she became a deputy to the Supreme Soviet of the USSR. During the Great Patriotic War of 1941–45 she was evacuated; she published the collections Sing, Heart, Of Life! (1943) and Through the Whistling of the Bullets (in Russian translation, 1943). The collection A Nightingale Cannot Help But Sing appeared in 1945. For her collection My Land, published in Russian translation after her death, Neris was posthumously awarded the State Prize of the USSR (1947). She translated works of many poets and writers, including those of A. S. Pushkin, I. S. Turgenev, M. Gorky, S. Ia. Marshak, and A. A. Akhmatova. She was also awarded the Order of the Patriotic War First Class.
WORKSPoezija, vols. 1–2. Kaunas, 1946.
Raŝtai, vols. 1–3. Vilnius, 1957.
Rinktinė, 3rd. ed. Vilnius, 1958.
Poezija, vols. 1–2. Vilnius, 1972.
In Russian translation:
Stikhotvoreniia i poemy. Moscow, 1953.
U rodnika. Vilnius, 1967.
Lirika. Moscow, 1971.
REFERENCERostovaité, T. Poetessa litovskogo naroda S. Neris. Moscow, 1957.