Tomas Venclova was born in 1937 in Klaipeda, Lithuania. A founder member of the Lithuanian Helsinki Group (which monitored Soviet violations of human rights in Lithuania), Venclova was stripped of his Soviet citizenship for his involvement in dissident politics in 1977 and forced to emigrate. Since 1985 he has taught Slavic languages and literature at Yale University. He is a poet, translator, essayist and literary historian of international standing, and his poems and essays have been translated into more than twenty languages.
Venclova has received numerous literary awards, including the Lithuanian National Prize in 2000 and the 2002 Prize of Two Nations which he received jointly with Czeslaw Milosz.
Tomas Venclova's most recent book in English is The Junction: Selected Poems (Bloodaxe Books, 2008), edited and co-translated by Ellen Hinsey.