Kacper Bartczak

Biuro Literackie readings (2020)

For the launch of my collection, published by in Poland, I made a set of videos in Truro (Cape Cod) on August 22, 2020. I had to cancel my visit due to covid, although the literary festival was not cancelled and the videos were projected. My thanks to Kacper Bartczak for his translations, the capstone of years of correspondence; and to Susan Bee, video camerman. 

CFP: “Innovative Poetries – Innovations in Poetry”: University of Łódź (Poland)





 Call for Papers: “Innovative Poetries – Innovations in Poetry”: Department of American Literature, University of Łódź (Poland): September 29-30, 2016

Strange weathers: Piotr Florczyk in Kraków

Kraków's main square. Photo by Karen Mardahl
Kraków's main square. Photo by Karen Mardahl

On a December visit from Los Angeles to his native city of Kraków, writer and translator Piotr Florczyk longs for the snow of his childhood, and I think of how weather translates from physical to emotional, personal to communal, into landscapes current and remembered. 

They say there is no weather in Los Angeles, but for one who's lived here always, it's a different story. Only in deep winter, do all the camellias open to a riot of pink, the backyard orange tree alight with small suns.

The first time I saw snow in the real world, I was in a home other than my own, an Amsterdam pensione in the century before Airbnb.

(Polish) Poetry after Różewicz

Tadeusz Różewicz.

I proselytize for Tadeusz Różewicz (1921–2014) and his poetic legacy as a new convert, not with unique insight into his importance or his poetics. That I leave to the eleven Polish poets sampled here (and several translators), who can testify better than I can.

On Różewicz and contemporary Polish poetry

The way the poetry of Tadeusz Różewicz (1921–2014) is used by the school system in Poland shows how we disfigure some poets to make them palatable. The educational package has it that his was an attempt to rebuild the basic powers of language after the catastrophe of human slaughter in this part of the world during WWII.

Nine poems by Kacper Bartczak (b. 1972)

Beyond the Helplessness Principle

Something will occur and at once it will be found

among other occurrences I know

that the heaviest dreams are only an illusion

I know it from experience I see my own

experience now that it is over

Of course it is still alive statistical

and divine

Różewicz and the organic

Różewicz and the organic

Among many other things, poetry is a drama of the poet’s hand. The writing hand, the hand of the writer, may be treated as both metaphor and metonymy, and it is in-between these two figures of speech that a distinct narrative of Różewicz’s work unravels. In several of his poems, the hand is a metaphor of writing, and it is very often accompanied with images of exhaustion and emptying. At the same time, it is a metonymy of the poet’s body, which is revolting and not at all committed to what the mind intends to say.

Four Poems by Jacek Gutorow (b. 1970)


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)


It’s only coffee, as you can see, 

spilt on the table. So ostentatious

in its attempt to imitate the classic test,

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