Vitalija Maksvytė (Pilipauskaitė-Butkienė) (1981) is a poet, writer, facilitator, mentor, and practicing doula. She is the mother of four children and received her Master’s degree in Lithuanian literature from Vilnius University. In 2015, her debut book, I breathe, was selected by the Lithuanian Institute for Literature and Folklore as one of the year’s 12 most creative books. In the same year she was awarded the Z. Gėlės Prize for best poetry debut.

Her work reflects the views of an independent 21st century woman, examining such themes as identity, social roles, and personal relationships. She draws from the experiences of living in both the Soviet and post-Soviet periods, and her poems are often delivered in the voice of a child: simple — at first glance domestic, even naive or primitive — but revealed to be fully engaged, pushed to the limits, staggering and impactful.

Vitalija’s poetry examines themes that in the past have been considered too intimate, even indelicate, for exploration including breast cancer, the emotional, psychological and sexual abuse of children, the self destruction of a people and a nation. She considers these themes in new ways and they are rendered in highly poetic language and in the context of an ever expanding openness to the world. A variety of different experiences are related in expressive, contemporary form, producing an unembellished reflection of reality. And this approach or way of thinking isn’t an end in itself; the author emphasizes the important social role art plays in the world. It is important for her to meet the reader and engage them in a conversation with the text; to explore the limits of humanity and to try to change, to grow, and to share.


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