Polish poet Czeslaw Milosz was born and spend his childhood in Šėtėnai. His Polish-Lithuanian family had a strong connection to the Lithuanian land, although they were Polish-speaking. Milosz was educated in Warsaw and was a leading leftist intellectual who actively supported the post-World War II Communist government. He became disillusioned, however, and emigrated to France and then to the United States, where he taught at Berkeley for many years. He was a beautiful poet and prose writer. Many of his works refer to his love for his homeland and especially the family estate where he spent his childhood. After visiting Šėtėnai and seeing the river and woods, I can understand. The Milosz Center, run by VMU, is located in the only remaining building of the original estate. When I learned that scholars can request to spend a week or two at the center, I was inspired to plan a writing/studying retreat there in the future.
I was especially happy to get to visit Milosz’s birthplace this year — the 100th year anniversary of his birth.