A Polish poet writes 33 poems directly into English
Grzegorz Wróblewski's new project
Grzegorz Wróblewski writes the following about a series of new poems he has written:
From January to May 2023, I was intensively dealing with asemic writing and an unexpected, very unusual project for myself. During this time I wrote 33 poems directly in English. It was the first time in my life that I made such a linguistic experiment. They have no Polish equivalents. I made a volume of poetry out of it and gave it a title I Really Like Lovers of Poetry. Writing poems in English turned out to be a completely different internal issue for me, a mysterious and at the same time fascinating psychological journey. So far, my poems have been translated from Polish by excellent people, such as Piotr Gwiazda or Adam Zdrodowski. I asked for proofreading by Marcus Silcock Slease. He sent the poems back to me very quickly and made no major changes to them. I didn't know how to define this process. I decided to define it as: "Poems translated by Grzegorz Wróblewski and Marcus Slease". I was also thinking of "Translated by the author and Marcus Slease". But in fact it was not about translation, but about linguistic nuances, which are so important, especially in minimalist poems. When everything was ready, I wanted someone else to verify my work. So I sent the whole thing, all the sequences, to Tim Suermondt, a poet I trust and whose work I greatly appreciate.
Tim wrote this in response:
Grzegorz Wróblewski delivers what readers have always loved him for: his take on not just the personal, but the condition of human beings and all creatures (I would like to wake up someday/among people who respect both/wolves and pigs) in the often mysterious planet we live on. Sometimes the take is acerbic, sometimes the take has a dark absurdity to it, sometimes the take is full of genuine wit, sometimes the take has a forbearance of humanity that even surprises the poet, but at all times these poems ring true in their brilliance, even if a bit of hurt must be endured for posing those truths: Listen to the silence of heaven./You won’t understand any of it. But at least you’ll be closer/to the silent clouds./ Closer to where you got here/by a mistake. But there’s no mistaking Wróblewski’s poetic gifts and the lovely rigor of his challenging mind.
Here is one of the poems in this series:
If I publicly announced that a giraffe has two heads,
they would immediately comment that I was drunk.
Or that I am a thief or a spy from Jupiter.
In the end, they’d put me in jail.
If, on the other hand, I were to say that a giraffe has
one head, like humans, there would be protests
that I do not believe in God and that I am a follower
of Darwin’s theory of evolution.
I would be advised psychotherapy, and in the end
they would put me in prison anyway.
That’s why I don’t talk about giraffes.
I don’t know how many heads a single giraffe has.
But silence is also dangerous.
So my future is very much in doubt.