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These poems are largely autobiographical and many fall into the narrative or prose poem genre. Writing these poems has been part of a healing process that started in my life as early as kindergarten, but I began to clearly feel that I was 'different' than my peers, having strong crushes on male friends, something that threw me for a loop. One of my earliest poems included here was written in 6th grade, titled 'The Four Leaf Clover' about a boy who I was deeply in love with and who I remain feverishly in love with, still after forty years. Several reviewers have stated in so many words that my poems are 'not obtuse,' to quote one in particular, and they feel I lay my cards on the able for all to see. I write poems the way that I talk, and I am put off by poems that use words that I don't know. I challenge the reader to read my poems and reflect on their experiences of the heart, to dig down deep for their feelings, no matter what their persuasion.
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Vytautas Pliura's father was a Lithuanian refugee who came to the U.S. as a Displaced Person after World War II, having survived imprisonment in a concentration camp. His mother, Natalie, a blond beauty of Irish and German descent and a native of Milwaukee, Wisconsin, was working as an RN when she met Vytautas' father, who was finishing his medical internship in Chicago, where Vytautas was born. Vytautas Pliura grew up as an Illinois farm boy with three farm ponds stocked with bass and catfish. He raised registered Angus cattle that he showed to championships throughout the Midwest. With four sisters and a brother, Vytautas grew up with treehouses in the summer and snow forts in the winter. His "charmed childhood" gave him a strong base to draw on when he met challenges as a young adult trying to understand his gay orientation. Vytautas made his way to Los Angeles intoxicated with the idea of being lost in the "big city." He attended UCLA where he studied film production. Upon graduation, he worked as a screenwriter, but had more success in the theatre world of LA, writing directing and producing plays. He began writing poetry in 1993, almost by "mistake" and got hooked. He's been widely published since. Vytautas Pliura lives in downtown Los Angeles among the skyscrapers. He has taught elementary school for several years. Vytautas has had poetry in the publications: Evergreen Chronicles, Chiron Review, James White Review, Bay Windows, Sundog Review, Priapus, DWAN, Goddess Pulp, Zen Baby & RFD. He has appeared in the anthologies: Gents, Badboys and Barbarians, Between the Cracks: The Daedalus Anthology of Kinky Verse, The Outlaw Bible of American Poetry, A Day for a Lay: A Century of Gay Poetry. His book has been translated into Russian.Review:
Vytautas writes with his soul, something too few writers can do. --Gavin Geoffrey Dillard, The Naked Poet
Those gentlepersons who nominate and select works for the Pulitzer Prize should pay special heed to the phenomenal book of verse, Tenderness in Hell. --Rory White, Hacky-Sack Boys
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