Born into a peasant family of Lithuanian Catholics, this member of the symbolists' younger generation began by herding cows in his native village. He tutored his way through high school, and reached the University of Moscow, where he soon veered from science to letters. He became both a linguist and a traveler, going west as far as Chicago.
Although Baltrushaitis may be claimed by the Lithuanian as well as the Russian literature, this reticent poet does not often avail himself of either tongue. He carries on the philosophical tradition of Russian poetry. His disciplined and concentrated art moves on a plane of abstractions. His is a mystical austerity and a Buddhistic aloofness from things personal.