translation

Four Poems by Jacek Gutorow (b. 1970)

Poem

The box on the table has begun to think.

Thinking beyond me.

Or is it just my imagination?

Of course not. It is. Meditating behind my back.

 

I don’t see it. How do I know it is thinking?

This thought has just occurred to me.

Reticence: On Różewicz

For someone who has worked with, and in, words, Różewicz has always approached language with an uncompromising suspicion. I cannot think of another poet who distrusts words more consistently. After the war, when words seemed compromised, Różewicz made a utopian attempt to rebuild trust in words by returning to simplest phrases and basic truths.

Three Poems by Jerzy Jarniewicz (b. 1958)

Rorschach

It’s only coffee, as you can see, 

spilt on the table. So ostentatious

in its attempt to imitate the classic test,

Keeping company: On Różewicz

What I must have read as the essential feature of his poetry was its relentless focus on evacuating the world sensorium, which turned the poem into a condensed meditation on the poverty of the human — a condition whose unmistakable topic is the nothingness of life. This was its signatory presence that I track down at each reading, which I search for in each phrase, its basic narrative, in the taste of the poem’s flesh.

Różewicz the playwright

Who was Różewicz for me? First, a figure from school — I discussed his poems and this was terribly boring. It was all understood, the War, the Holocaust, the partisans. Not for a fifteen-year-old to digest. His poems were boring. But his plays and prose were an entirely different matter. Oh! It was something. White Marriage (Białe Małzenstwo) and Card Index (Kartoteka) read wonderfully. Only now, in hindsight, I rediscover Różewicz the poet, but still, for me [he is] a playwright. Above all.


Translated by Marit MacArthur

Six Poems by Edward Pasewicz (b. 1971)

Come Chat 

I know why I regard your foot,

it holds up your body, and your body holds me up.

 

Since something is wrong with my body,

dead “but” it rocks itself

in a wicker cage and falls into a trance

and whispers: prickly pear, thorns of roses, death

Growing up to Różewicz

It’s not easy to comment in any sort of statement that smacks of literature, in writing, on the person, the writing, and the legacy of Tadeusz Różewicz, as I once shared a nonliterary space with him. These are memories beyond assigned reading from school. They come from living in the town of Gliwice, where he spent many years, and they come from working with him in my role as an editor of his final volumes at the Wrocław publisher Biuro Literackie.

Nine Poems by Marta Podgórnik (b. 1979)

Ovulation Blues

Nothing for it these days but Lipton tea with

chapbooks by Bohdan Zadura or practicing elocution

in front of the brown mirror.

 

At the bus stop, blowing your nose straight into

the trash, holding one nostril,

and in the Czech manner mixing up the bus numbers,

Two Poems by Marcin Sendecki (b. 1967)

[Jump]

Night yelps Day burns

Maybe later

Some kind of later whence

Under a heavy eyelid

 

On a bone-chilled beach

A delicious afternoon

Ready for the road

The wave waits

Singular Różewicz

When he was still alive, on his ninetieth birthday, I got to thinking: what is the actual status of his writing? Does it really constitute a primary reference point for poets writing today? There used to be a cliché making the rounds in our literary culture, which had it that Różewicz lived to see the greatest number of epigones. Well, maybe. Except that his writing is so very singular that it is entirely nonproductive of followers. In this, it is analogous to the writing of Witold Wirpsza, Miron Białoszewski, or Rafał Wojaczek.

Syndicate content