This essay (given at the PENClub Polska) deals with the relationship between constitutional matters and poetry. The essay takes a closer look at the poetry of Adam Zagajewski, Marcin Świetlicki, Julian Tuwim and Adam Bieszek. “There is nothing on us in the Constitution” – Marcin Świetlicki angrily declaims the bitterness of civil rejection in the poem “Under the volcano”. However, the poet is not right. The Constitution sometimes means more than it says directly. If it is silent about something, that does not always amount to rejection, as Świetlicki claims. The two first parts of the essay explain why the poet could have made such a mistake as to his presence in the Constitution. The third part expounds the change that is taking place in Poland: the rejection of the foundations of the Constitution without changing its text.
The Koran became an inspiration to the Russian poet Alexander Pushkin (1799–1837), made obvious in many of his works, such as Imitations of the Koran, The Prophet, and In a Secret Cave. Pushkin studied the translation of the Koran carefully and used many verses of its Surahs in his texts. Many of his contemporary poets and followers were influenced by his poetry, like Ivan Bunin (1870–1953), who continued the traditions of Pushkin. Bunin repeated many thoughts from Koranic discourse and placed them in his poems that were full of faith and spirituality. He wrote many of them at the beginning of the 20th century1, before his emigration to France in 1918, for example: Mohammed in Exile, Guiding Signs and For Treason. It has been noted that Bunin was quoting verses from the Koran to create an intertextual relationships between some Surahs and his poems, showing a great enthusiasm to mystical dimension of Islam. We find this aspect in many works, such as The Night of al-Qadr, Tamjid, Black Stone of the Kaaba, Kawthar, The Day of Reckoning and Secret. It can also be said that a spiritual inspiration and rhetoric of Koran were not only attractive to Pushkin and Bunin, but also to a large group of Russian poets and writers, including Gavrila Derzhavin, Mikhail Lermontov, Fyodor Tyutchev, Yakov Polonsky, Lukyan Yakubovich, Konstantin Balmont, and others.
Kazimierz Jaworski contributed to a great extent to popularising Yevhen Malaniuk’s poetry in the interwar period. Most of Jaworski’s translations of Malaniuk’s poems into Polish were published in the years 1933–1937 in the magazine Kamena in Chełm. The poet from Lublin undertook to translate less popular poems, unknown to Polish readers. He opted not to work with the Ukrainian poet’s patriotic works, familiar to Polish literary circles, and chose poems of intimate and existential nature instead. From the two collections which were known in Poland, Earth And Iron (1930) and The Earthly Madonna (1934), he selected poems which in a special way correlate with his own lyrical works from the To a Red And White Mistress (1924) collection. What deserves special attention among Kazimierz Jaworski’s translating techniques is his exceptional diligence in choosing suitable Polish semantic equivalents and in rendering an appropriate rhythm of poems. Most of his translations can be described as adequate. They are not absolute, but they convey the originality of a given work through preserving the form and contents of the translated poem in the most faithful way possible. Jaworski’s translations show his inclination to poetise and dynamise the text. The translator readily uses his own metaphors and expands phrases with emotionally charged elements. Kazimierz Andrzej Jaworski was also a tireless propagator of information concerning the most recent translations of Yevhen Malaniuk’s poetry as well as the publishing activities of one of the most valued representatives of the Ukrainian immigration in Poland.
Vasyl Stus is the Ukrainian existential poet, who used aesthetic of surrealism and expressionism. This text presents surreal elements in the Vasyl Stus’s poems which are connected with the idea of hell. Author gives examples of different images of hell in European culture and literature and also analyzes the surrealist poems of Vasyl Stus from his book Merry Cemetery.
The paper is concerned with the most fundamental compositional divide to be found in lyrical discourse, consisting in that the latter one is normally split into an empirical part, presenting the author’s concrete experience, and a focal part, where the author discovers some signifi cant truth or/and changes her attitude towards the world. It is claimed in the paper that, more generally, one of the specifi c linguistic properties of focal fragments is their higher and/or specially underscored informativity, and, in particular, one of the means recruited to emphasize it is inverted word order.
This article traces the concept of Place in the poetry of exiled Palestinian poet and literary critic Yūsuf Šihāda,1 now a Polish citizen. The article analyzes Place as the objective correlative through which one can discern the ensemble of the intricate existential relationships in the poetry of this exiled Palestinian intellectual who is torn between its complexities. The Slavic Place and place in general in his poetry constitute the backdrop to understanding the hidden meanings, the existential dilemmas, the entangled human relationships between East and West, and the moral stance the poet reflects in his work. Šihāda’s poetry is based on the poles of open-closed and inside-outside. It reflects loss, wandering, and emotional, intellectual, psychological, humanitarian, and existential alienation. Analysis of the types of place in his poetry – the polar, the intimate, the border, and the utopian - indicates that the poet’s voice has become the voice of the minority, and through the dialectics within the different types of places, he portrays his own crises and those of his people, the various restrictions placed upon them, their dreams of a free, unfettered life, and their yearning to live in an intimate place where they can unite with the universe.
The article is an attempt to present Józef Czechowicz’s relationships with the early works of Oleh Olzhych from the Камінь (1932) and Бронза (1932) cycles, preceding his debut collection of poems entitled Рінь (1935). Oleh Kandyba’s poems became the subject of interest of Polish literary circles as early as in the 1930s. His poems were translated mostly by writers associated with the Kamena magazine based in Chełm, a group whose member was also Józef Czechowicz. Kandyba’s poetry, described as “tragic optimism,” is to a large extent analogous with the works of the poet from Lublin. Both authors include apocalyptic and Arcadian motifs in their poems. Their compositions, based on contrast, are accompanied by Biblical and classical motifs, in which the imagery of stone played a special role. Both Olzhych and Czechowicz took care over the clarity of their poetry and focused on the right choice of words. Poems provided them with a means of escape from the realities of war and constituted a kind of an appeal to the nation.
This article addresses the issue of the interpretation of proper names in poetry. The state of research on the functions of proper names in literature is well described, but it is possible to note the lack of a fixed interpretation strategy in poetry which means that, despite little interest in poetry, its researchers often try to propose their own methods of analysis. The authors of the article, who tackle onyms in the poetry of Bruno Jasieński, present their own methodological approach to the matter, based on B. Waldenfels’ concept of the “phenomenology of the alien”.
The author of the article analyses this phenomenon on the example of literature based discussions among researcher provided by V. Lepahin and M. Maslova. The main subject of discussion is a poem of Nikolay Gumilyov’s Andrei Rublev. In this particular case this had led to the fact that researchers were unable to see obvious connection with the Song of Solomon in the poem by Nikolai Gumilev and came to the false conclusion of incompetence Nikolai Gumilev in biblical matters. The article helps to understand some of the trends that are popular in modern Russian literary study.
This article takes up Adam Dziadek’s somatic approach to literature to explore the theme of erotic experience in two poems by Jarosław Iwaszkiewicz, ‘L’amour Cosaque’ and ‘Amore profane’. With the help of inputs from gender studies and the contemporary theories of the subject it has been possible to profi le the ‘I’ of the poems as a deeply fragmented and sexually ambiguous subject, and, upon the evidence of the elusive autobiographical details woven into the text, as a subject suspended in a liminal space, between the real and the fi ctive world. After analyzing the body represented in the text, both perfect and decrepit, as well as traces of the poet’s carnality that interfere with the text and the reader’s sense of his own soma the article arrives at the following conclusion: in Jarosław Iwaszkiewicz’s lyrics the body seems to project its impressions and experiences onto reality, thus blurring the border between the inside and the outside.
The discovery of some hitherto unknown documents relating to Bolesław Leśmian’s family has made it possible to re-read his autobiographical poems as responses to circumstances and events from the poet’s real life. An analysis of his poems in the light of the information supplied by the newly-discovered source shows that they provide a thoroughly accurate record of events as they happened, especially deaths. Not only do the deaths of his mother, father and his siblings hurt him deeply and foreshadow the end of his own life, but also make him feel guilty for not being able to remember them properly: as his memory fails him, they are condemned to a ‘second death’.
The foregoing article is an attempt at answering the question, whether Fiodor Sologub is rightly called a eulogist of evil and an apologist of devil, as well as a God-iconoclast. For this purpose the author is trying to revise the hitherto views concerning the fi gure of God in the lyric of the Russian poet. In the effect of conducted studies it was established that the myth of Sologub, “the literary Jack the Ripper”, functioning well until today was based on unjust and often prejudicial opinions of persons from the symbolist’s generation, as well as of the later experts in literature, who ascribed to them the “crimes” committed by the protagonists of his novels (sadism, erotomania, necrophilia and Satanism). The key problem of God-iconoclasty in turn, as it has been revealed, is connected with the issue of literary mask, a play with the reader. On one hand, the poet’s God-iconoclasty is an attempt of “getting inscribed” in the creative tendency that predominated in the Russian literature of that time (the “diabolic symbolism”), on the other – it constitutes one of the stages in looking for God and the development of lyrical “I”, carrying autobiographical traits.
This article takes as its starting point the Greek term μεταξύ, a preposition meaning ‘between’, first turned into a noun in Plato’s Symposium, and in that substantivized form adapted for their own ends by a number of 20th-century philosophers, most notably by Simone Weil. In her Gravity and Grace (French: La Pesanteur et la grâce) she defines le metaxu as in-betweenness, a social and metaphysical category which embraces all that connects and divides (as, for example, a wall that both separates two prisoners and can be used by them to tap messages). In this article Weil’s concept of metaxu is applied to the language and then to various readings of two of Wisława Szymborska’s poems, ‘Funeral’ and ‘Elegiac Calculation’. Pragmalinguistics and semantics, too, play a role in the interpretation of these poems.
Whereas Wincenty Pol’s topographical verse has usually been viewed as an expression of a ‘sentimental geography’, this article proposes a new reading of a well-known poem A Song about Our Land by Wincenty Pol in terms of ‘imagined geography’, a key term of an approach inspired by geopoetics and postcolonial studies. ‘Imagined geography’ refers to a poetic map, i.e. travelogue laced with motifs from the repository of national heritage. Its images, reshaped by the writer’s imagination, form an ideologically charged whole in which an emotive sense of place or scenery (‘touching the heart’) uncovers a complex cultural stratigraphy of the ‘imagined geography’. In the light of this approach, based on the insights of geopoetics, Wincenty Pol’s poem can be treated as textual representation of a map of the real and the symbolic territory of Poland.
The article examines the relationship between the lyrics and prose of Mieczysław Romanowski, the most talented poet of the last generation of the Romantics, and the work of other contributors of the weekly magazine Dziennik Literacki, published in Lwów between 1852 and 1870. Although their concerns and poetics have a lot in common, the high tone of Romanowski’s patriotic art is distinctly his own. In this article the analysis of his poetry is complemented by an examination of his essays and other writings which contain his views on contemporary social issues.
This article examines the relationship of Maryla Wolska with the poets and artists of the Young Poland in Lwów and, more broadly, with the literary community of the early 20th century. She was a leading light of Płanetnicy (The Rainmakers), an informal group of artists who met at her house in Lwów. The role of a friend and mate, someone who was treated equally as a writer, did not sit well, however, with her role as mistress of the house, hostess of a literary salon and representative of a family which occupied a high position in the social hierarchy. To ride on the crest of the wave she strove to combine two strategies, a modern jauntiness and a studious attention to 19th-century proprieties. Although she did well for herself, her success was by no means complete.
This article presents a comparative analysis of two poems, Stéphane Mallarmé’s ‘Soupir’ (1866) and Wacław Rolicz-Lieder’s ‘To My Sister’s Smile’, published in 1891. ‘Soupir’ is one of Mallarmé’s early poems, yet in many respects, as this analysis demonstrates, looks forward to the French poet’s mature phase and foreshadows the poetics of Wacław Rolicz-Lieder. Chief among the similarities are the autothematic focus and the intent to convey feelings of emptiness and longing for an ideal in poems refined to the point of préciosité. However, for all their preoccupation with the craft of poetry, either poet believed that inspiration was absolutely vital for creativity. This article argues that Mallarmé’s poetics, especially his ideas of inspiration and originality, was taken over by Wacław Rolicz-Lieder, who adapted it to suit his own poetic project.
This article focuses on paralogical figures (amphibology, equivocation, hypallage and syllepsis) in the poems of Jan Zych. Paralogicisms are phrases in which the combination of logical and syntactical form produces an irresolvable semantic conundrum. The article is divided into three parts, each dealing with one aspect of Zych’s handling of the opposition of distance and proximity: air metaphors expressive of the channel of poetic speech; communication by post (letters); and images of the labyrinth. The paralogical figures are discussed in terms of their function as textual building-blocks, a mark of the author’s subjectivity, and an invitation for performative reading. In this way, Zych’s poems, in particular Labirynty (The Labyrinths) are reconstituted as literary performances, analogous to the labyrinthine prose of J. L. Borges and Octavio Paz.
This article looks at Leopold Staff’s translation of Rabindranath Tagore’s volume of poems Fruit-Gathering (1921). A close analysis of the translator’s decisions and miscomprehensions in the Polish text – in confrontation with the French, German and English versions of the original – suggests that he made use of the English translation. The article throws light on the circumstances which led to the introduction of Tagore’s poetry to the Polish audience; reviews the main features of his poetics; and undertakes a comparative reading of the two texts, the original and its Polish rendition. The latter appears to be in many ways beholden to early 20th-century modernist taste, in particular its idealizing aesthetics and a fascination with the exotic Orient.
This article is an attempt to confront the autothematic refl ection in Leopold Staff’s (Ars poetica and The Artist’s Sadness) with two poems, inspired by a somewhat similar approach, by Tymoteusz Karpowicz and Krystyna Miłobędzka. What they seem to have in common are textual signs of welcome with ‘open arms’ and ‘the outstretched hand’. These emblematic gestures invite the reader/the Other to a diffi cult dialogue and at the same time indicate the nature of the authors’ poetic ambition. The analysis of the two pairs of poems is set in the context of the 20th-century evolution of the idea of poetic genius and the poet’s self-awareness. Crucial to this comparative study of the poetic practice of Leopold Staff, Tymoteusz Karpowicz and Krystyna Miłobędzka is an appraisal of the authenticity of their vision and the language they used to express their maximalist ambitions.
This article outlines the approach adopted by Władysław Syrokomla (the pen name of Ludwik Kondratowicz) in his translation of Latin verse and examines, by analyzing some of the poems he translated into Polish, how it worked in practice. He believed that the translator should strive for an empathic attunement to the writers voice (Einfühlung) while ‘remaining oneself’ and that abandoning ‘slavish imitation’ was the best way to animate a poem (an approach much criticized by philological authorities). These ideas are discussed in the fi rst part of the article; the second part contains analyses of his translations of Latin odes written by Maciej Sarbiewski, i.e. Ode I 19 (Ad caelestem adspirat patriam), II 3 (Ad suam testudinem), and IV 12 (Ad Ianum Libinium. Solitudinem suam excusat). Syrokomla does not engage in any intertextual games with the ancients; instead, he adapts the original to the formal and stylistic conventions of his time, most notably the Romantic concept of the poem as a projection of a poetic consciousness (‘ego’). In effect, Sarbiewski’s (neo) classical poetic personas become versions of the Romantic hero, most conspicuously in the case of Ode IV 12.
After moving to Italy in 1856, Teofil Lenartowicz, inspired by the great Italian art and supported by the best Florentine artists of the time Giovanni Dupré and Enrico Pazzi, began studying sculpture. Lenartowicz’s sculptures were always connected with literature: his work shows howone influenced the other. It is no accident that his style as a sculptor has been called ‘poetic’ by the critics. The Polish immigrant was fascinated by the Italian Renaissance, and especially by the art of Lorenzo Ghiberti. At the same time, he never forgot about Polish folklore, which played a significant role in his artistic vision. One of the most impressive examples of this intersection of influences is the bas-relief The Holy Workers, complemented by a poem bearing the same name.