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Vytautas is a well-published poet and watercolor painter who hails from Illinois and resides in downtown Los Angeles among the skyscrapers.  Pliura’s father was a Lithuanian refugee who came to U.S. as a Displaced Person after World War II, and his mother, of Irish and German descent, a native of Milwaukee, Wisconsin.   Pliura grew up as an Illinois farm boy with three arm ponds stocked with bass and catfish.  With four sisters and a brother, he 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 theater world of LA, writing, directing, and producing plays.

Pliura began writing poetry in 1993, almost by “mistake” and got booked.  He’s been widely published ever since.  He has had his work in the publication: Evergreen Chronicles, Chiron Review, James White Review, Bay Window, and Sundog Review, just to name a few.  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, and A Day For A Lay:  A Century of Gay Poetry.

His creations, like his life, have been a study in stark contrasts. Pliura is known for the unsparing realism in his vivid, sometimes harsh and brutally honest poetry with graphic images of rough sex and violence with ironic touches of sentimentality, as well as the amazingly innocent, naïve beauty in his art work.  A lover of ocean swimming and cherry snowcones, Vytautas’ favorite writers are Henry David Thoreau, Albert Camus, Jean-Paul Sartre and John Rechy. His favorite poet is Lorca, and a favorite painter with whom he is often compared to is Rousseau

To help explain the apparent contradiction in Pliura’s work an admirer of his has written:

First, one’s beauteous innocent style can still communicate harsh content.  The subject of "Slave's Quarters" might have all the more ironic punch when delivered in a painterly manner of softened colors which "opens up" or puts the viewer "off guard".  Second, it is a simple reality that many painters, like Marc Chagall, choose the light, almost disembodied, floating colors of a child's painting in their work.  Perhaps it is, to some, an attempt to grasp at the healing salve of color to assuage the wounds of life.  Pure Beauty!  To others, the floating colors maybe an attempt to dissociate and lift away, like helium balloons, from the overstimulus of pain too common upon the earth.

Vytautas and Cat Cohen have been friends and fellow creators over the years, sometimes appearing together at open mikes. 

You can find out more information about Pliura at www.orchardhousepress.com/vytautaspliura.  His artwork can be viewed at www.charityadvantage.com/lampartproject/vytautas4.asp.  

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