Ryszard Krynicki, one of the most prominent poets of postwar Poland, was born in 1943 in Sankt Valentin, Austria, where his parents had been deported to a Nazi labor camp. In Poland in the 1960s he became a leading member of the "New Wave" group of poets, which included Adam Zagajewski and Stanislaw Baranczak. He was co-editor of Zapis, the first independent literary magazine in Communist Poland to be published outside the reach of official censorship. He made his debut in 1968 with the collection Speed of Chase, Speed of Flight, and after the publication of his second collection, Collective Organism, in a form severely cut by censorship, his work was published by the Institut Littéraire in Paris and by underground presses in Poland. His most recent collection, Magnetic Point, was published in 1996. Krynicki is a distinguished translator of German-language poetry, in particular of Paul Celan and Nelly Sachs. He has received many awards, among them the Polish Poets' Award, the Koscielski Foundation Award, and the Robert Graves-PEN Club Award. Since 1989 he has run the prestigious independent publishing house a5, which publishes Wislawa Szymborska, Zbigniew Herbert, Adam Zagajewski and the work of many younger Polish poets, as well as literary essays and poetry in translation.
Alissa Valles is a poet and translator from Russian and Polish. She has worked for the Institute of War Documentation in Amsterdam, where she grew up, and is now working toward a doctorate in the Committee on Social Thought at the University of Chicago.