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Articles tagged "Poland"

“Scattering the Dark: An Anthology of Polish Women Poets” edited by Karen Kovacik

In The Joy of Writing, Wislawa Szymborska writes of the liberating, creative power of poetic language: Is there then a world Where I rule absolutely on fate? A time I bind with chains of signs? An existence become endless at my bidding? The joy of writing. The power of preserving. Revenge of a mortal hand. Szymborska is the most famous of the Polish women poets, a recipient of the Noble Prize in Literature who is widely admired as a poet, essayist, and translator. Her sense of self...

From “Raking Light from Ashes”

Warsaw was awoken by a cold winter morning in January of 1943 that illuminated it with sad, gray light. Relli stirred in her sleep. She heard voices beyond the thick blanket that covered her up to the top of her head. Strange, she thought. It wasn’t Mommy’s voice, or Daddy’s, or even Grandpa’s . . . who could it be, so close to her? She tried to peek out without revealing herself, but saw nothing. She tried to stretch beneath the blanket and realized she...

History, War, and Writing: Notes from the Conrad Festival in Krakow

Photo: Thomasz Wiech / the Conrad Festival The first day of my one-week trip to Krakow, during which I planned to learn more about Polish literature by attending the seventh annual Conrad Festival, spending time at the Krakow Book Fair, touring the city, and meeting with authors, agents, translators, and publishers, began with a long red-eye flight from New York City, which was sleepless enough to make everything that day seem fuzzy and slightly surreal. In the early afternoon, I dropped...

Traders

Back in the early 1990s, when Wild-West capitalism came to Russia, I was a chelnok, or shuttle trader. My wife and I (we weren’t married at that stage) traveled the whole world in search of cheap merchandise and markets to sell it at. Well, not exactly the whole world—but almost. The most common way of doing business was to buy merchandise in Russia, take it to Poland, sell it for ten or fifteen times as much, and get hold of dollars at a good rate; then you traveled to China,...

An Interview with Zygmunt Miłoszewski

Zygmunt Miłoszewski is a Polish novelist, journalist, and editor, currently working as a columnist for Newsweek.  Born in Warsaw in 1976, he is the author of several books across a variety of genres.  His horror novel, The Intercom, was published in 2005, while The Adder Mountains, a book for young readers, appeared the following year.  English language readers will be most familiar with him for his Polish State Prosecutor Teodor Szacki crime series.  Released...

Pulse beyond the Horizon

After the water, there was nothing. And if you looked long enough at the horizon, you could make out a stillness that transformed when the waves crashed against the rig's legs and the rusted steel platform began to sway. The drill ate through layers of limestone into the earth's interior, it probed deep beneath the seabed while the reel on the drill floor rotated ceaselessly, and we, in twelve-hour shifts, stood by at the ready to connect more tubing to the well. The Gulf of...

Jerzy Pilch’s “A Thousand Peaceful Cities”

Hailed by Czeslaw Milosz as "the hope of young Polish prose" and often compared with the Polish master of surrealist pranks Witold Gombrowicz, in the third of his novels to be published in English the acclaimed satirist and newspaper columnist Jerzy Pilch once again weaves fact and fiction in a memorable absurdist tale of flawed political resistance.   Like the dipsomaniac protagonist of Pilch's The Mighty Angel, the narrator of A Thousand Peaceful Cities shares his first...

from “Dukla”

One Saturday the summer vacationers appeared. The village was slowly becoming a tourist spot. A few cabins, a woebegone hostel, a kiosk selling Wyszków beer in its special bottles. The locals were used to it, and nothing special was going on. The Tonette was playing “Seven Girls on the Albatross.” The guys hadn’t gotten into the swing of things yet. They were standing huddled in groups, smoking Start cigarettes. A few girls were milling about in pairs. In the...

Animal Farm; or, a Short and Somewhat Political History of Comics in Poland

The Goat Polish comics began in 1919 with the publication in the Lvov satirical weekly Szczutek (“Fillip”) of With Fire and Sword; or, The Adventures of Mad Grześ, about a young soldier who battles enemies of Poland on various fronts.  For the next twenty years, the comics market developed slowly but systematically. Comics were published in magazines for both children and adults. Most were imported—among them Prince Valiant, Tarzan, and Mickey Mouse. The...

From Key of Passage

The pyxel appeared at a most inconvenient moment for Robert. As usual on such appearances, the air flickered a little, an invisible violin began to play softly, and there was a whiff of vanilla. The pyxel materialized some thirty centimeters above the tabletop. He windmilled his little arms, piped, "Oh shit," and fell to the table with a crash surprisingly heavy for an insubstantial being. He got up, brushed himself off, adjusted his official cap, and turned a serious face to Robert and...

Balloon to Solaris

Polish speculative fiction has been developing for over two hundred years, although it was only sixty years ago that science fiction began to be treated as a separate segment of the publishing market, with its own publishing series, authors, and critical apparatus. As in the case of Polish culture more generally, extraliterary events—both historical and political—have had an enormous influence on the genre’s form, achievements, and reception in the stormy last two...

Polish


Ukrainian


A Juicer

So many saints that they obstruct the heavens. We have yet to buy a plastic Christ. Holy water which will be absorbed by the blotting paper of sin. Thoughts of unbelief watch us closely. Love converts. A reckless juicer squeezes shy testimony from us. Yes. Translation of "Sokowirówka." Copyright by Ewa Lipska. By arrangement with the auhor. Translation copyright 2007 Robin Davidson and Ewa Ewa Elżbieta Nowakowska. All rights reserved. Read...

The Smells of Evil

Let them hate, as long as they fear. --from the tragedy of Lucius Actius, Atreus The secret agent of order. He would prefer to present before the court the chaos of uncertainty. He places a teaspoon of obligatory jam into the mouth of a child. The assimilated taste passes from mouth to mouth. The univocal believer has mastered to perfection the smells of evil. The valedictorian of the unenlightened star gazing into the sky of hypocrisy. Yet bound to the...

A Splinter

I like you a twenty-year old poet writes to me. A beginning carpenter of words. His letter smells of lumber. His muse still naps in rose wood. Ambitious noise in a literary sawmill. Apprentices veneer a gullible tongue. They cut to size the shy plywood of sentences. A haiku whittled with a plane. Problems begin with a splinter lodged in memory. It is hard to remove it much harder to describe. Wood shavings fly. Laminate angels. Dust up to the heavens....

Indiscretion

Had she busied herself in time with the systematic counting of ship screws it would not have come to this— indecent acts of poetry. Translation of "Niedyskrecja." Copyright by Ewa Lipska. By arrangement with the author. Translation copyright 2007 by Robin Davidson and Ewa Elżbieta Nowakowska. All rights reserved. Read Ewa Lipska's "Juicer."

Number One

And so what that our planet is bookable. The moon listed in property records. The sun included in a notarized deed. Numbered cities. Mortgaged streets. Multi-digital fate. New wars secured by property of the Decalogue. Exorbitant sums of hope at public auctions. And so what when love a twig brushed by the wind is always Number One and leans toward us. Translation of "Numer Jeden." Copyright Ewa Lipska. By arrangement with the author. Translation...

An Address

The telegram came at eight in the morning. He was still lying in bed; he didn't really feel like getting up. He couldn't stand Sundays anymore; they were empty days difficult to fill. So he stayed in bed as long as he could, waiting for the morning commotion to die down in the apartment, and the scrambles for the bathroom and kitchen to cease. That usually took quite some time, since the apartment housed three families, one in each of the three large rooms. He himself occupied...

All the Languages in the World

Chapter One Awakening It was a terrible dream. At first I couldn't find my bearings in it - I didn't know what I was actually dreaming about, what I felt afraid of, or what those big chunks of raw meat were supposed to be; despite being beaten to a bloody pulp, they were still showing signs of life. Only a while later, when an image loomed out of the confusion, moved towards me and came into sharp focus did I catch sight of an infinite multitude of human tongues, torn from...

Our Holocaust

The Holocaust extended its reach beyond the neighborhood. Traces of Shoah lurked in the most surprising places, like the little shops where Dad went to order wallpaper or buy light bulbs. He often took me with him to Attorney Perl's hardware store on Yonah HaNavi Street. Apart from buying plaster or little boxes of screws, it was a place where you could talk, ask questions and watch Attorney Perl at work. People used to stand with their elbows on the counter and gaze at the wall...

“I peel potatoes, stroke you on the head, pick up a leaf”

I peel potatoes, stroke you on the head, pick up a leaf off the ground, turn on the light, light a cigarette, grab the doorknob, take out a tram ticket don't be in such a rush, you're greying too fast run run, as much is yours as stabs in the chest For the next poem in this sequence, click here.

“I put off three dreams about father until later”

I put off three dreams about father until later they may come in handy it's already an old tear, an automatic one I always find it in the same place

“I lose verbs most quickly, nouns are left”

I lose verbs most quickly, nouns are left, things no more than personal pronouns (a lot of I, more and more I) and names? they vanish, conjunctions vanish three words, two words finally my, my inward my inward out world I in the first and last person For the next poem in this sequence, click here.

“exactly the forehead, exactly the mouth, exactly the hands”

exactly the forehead, exactly the mouth, exactly the hands with that same dirty stain near the fingernail with little braids in an old-fashioned dress with a dahlia at the cheek, a strawberry at the lips in that blue grey band in the hair (and: will the ash blossom?) For the next poem in this sequence, click here.

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