Lote Vilma Vītiņa

- Latvia -

Lote Vilma Vītiņa (1993) is a poet and an illustrator. She likes to work with both text and drawing and she has both written and illustrated two of her books: Dzejnieks un smarža (The Poet and Scent) (2019) – a picture book for children and her newest book Ūdenstornis (Water Tower) (2021) for young adults. Her debut book in poetry Meitene (Girl) was published in 2021. Her poems have been published in different literary magazines in Latvia and poetry anthologies, including the young poet anthology Kā pārvarēt niezi galvaskausā (How to Overcome the Itch in One’s Skull) compiled by Artis Ostups and published by Valters Dakša. In 2022, she received an Annual Latvian Literary Award for Water Towerin the Best Children’s Book category.


Lote Vilma studied painting at the Art Academy of Latvia, graduating in 2017. She has been writing poetry since her early teen years. Interestingly, her first publication in 2007 happened to have all of her names spelled wrong.


She thinks that one of the most meaningful things to do is to create books and finds that one of the most exciting things about bookmaking is the intertwining of the text with drawing. In her first book, The Poet and Scent, she combined poems about scents with lines of ink and watercolor. Water Tower is a book for young adults in the form of a girl’s notebook filled with thoughts, which have taken shape as prose poems, and tiny ink drawings that mirror the movements of her inner world. Her poetry collection Girl featured short poems, fragments of memories that are important to the author: brother, tickling, hands, garden.

In her review of the poetry collection Girl (“I Like This Girl”, published in the online magazine Delfi), the poet and literary scholar Anna Auziņa said that “these poems are so simple that it is difficult to tell what exactly has been expressed in them and why they seem so beautiful.”


Auziņas colleague Kārlis Vērdiņš has this to say about Lote Vilma’s poems in the anthology How to Overcome the Itch in One’s Skull: “In spite the fact that everything is as if calm and recognizable from our own childhood summers, some barely noticeable tension lurks in these lines,  and a situation develops in the mind of the suspicious reader where the seeming calm can possibly become destroyed and the idyllic landscape acquires the potential to become a piece of TV news that ends with a call not to leave children unattended”.


Lote says that in addition to drawing, writing, and reading books, she enjoys observing plants and animals. Her plans involve writing a graphic novel about her crazy teen years and learning to play a new song on the recorder.


Water Tower is a serious and beautiful book, perhaps it could even be called a novel. It tells the story of a young person's coming of age and experiencing first love. When I read it, I thought it was about a girl. However, at some point, I thought that it could be about a young person of any gender. Also, the other person she meets, who by his presence and touch reveals to the protagonist the power and pain of love, is not marked as being of a particular gender. I think that's great. Lote Vilma Vītiņa describes her world very concretely and precisely, but the characters she creates are not predictable; it is a new world of metaphors in which a teenager can find strength from a clichéd reality that is not of their making,” the poet Inga Gaile writes in her review of Water Tower (“The Building of a Water Tower”, online magazine Satori).