Good News for Polish Poetry: New Books in English by Janusz Szuber and Julian Kornhauser

It’s been a little hectic around here, especially with the run-up to the panel discussion yesterday at Idlewild Books, “Literary Reportage: The Forensics of Crisis.” The discussion featured Polish journalist Wojciech Tochman, Guatemalan-American novelist Francisco Goldman, and Yale UP director Jonathan Brent, all of whom have written amazing books of reportage recently, and it went off very well I think, no small thanks to the intelligence and grace of Marcela Valdes’s moderation and to translator Antonia Lloyd-Jones, who did a fantastic job interpreting for Tochman.

I’ll write more about these two books as soon as I can, but I do want to at least mention now the publication of first books in English by two very significant Polish poets, Julian Kornhauser and Janusz Szuber. Both poets were born in the 1940s and so are of the same generation as Stanisław Barańczak, Ryszard Krynicki, Ewa Lipska, Piotr Sommer, and Adam Zagajewski. Kornhauser began publishing his poetry in the early 1970s and is generally considered one of the New Wave (Nowa Fala) poets, along with Barańczak, Krynicki, and Zagajewski; he and Zagajewski co-authored the important collection of critical essays Świat nie przedstawiony (1974); and he is also an important translator from Bosnian-Croatian-Serbian into Polish. Szuber debuted much later, in the mid-1990s, when he was almost 50; but has since published over a dozen book to widespread popular and critical acclaim.

Janusz Szuber’s book, They Carry a Promise: Selected Poems, has been translated by Ewa Hryniewicz-Yarbrough (she translated Piotr Szewc’s Annihilation for Dalkey Archive some years ago), and was just released by Knopf this past week. I’ve already seen it on the shelves at St. Mark’s; and like the other volume of Polish poetry recently edited by Deborah Garrison at Knopf, Julia Hartwig’s In Praise of the Unfinished, it is a gorgeous book.


We just received a notice from the translator, Piotr Florczyk, about Julian Kornhauser’s book, Been and Gone, which has just been published by Marick Press in Michigan. I had not heard of Marick before, but they have an attractive and well-designed website, several series—including one devoted to translation, which Kornhauser’s book appears in—and a small but impressive list of authors that includes Alicia Ostriker, Jerome Rothenberg, Franz Wright, and Raul Zurita.


It’s really heartening news that these poets are now available here, and that since 2005 or so more Polish poets have been published in English than at any time since the 1980s: Piotr Sommer’s Continued (Wesleyan, 2005), Zephyr Press’s wonderful series of Polish poets, which includes books by Marzanna Kielar, Eugeniusz Tkaczyszyn-Dycki, and Tomasz Różycki; a new book of Ewa Lipska’s poetry is coming out with Northwestern UP in November, and from what I understand, Northwestern will be publishing another book by Julia Hartwig next year. Zephyr also has plans to publish books by Tadeusz Dąbrowski and Marcin Świetlicki in the near future.

2 responses to “Good News for Polish Poetry: New Books in English by Janusz Szuber and Julian Kornhauser

  1. Thanks for the heads-up on Marick Press. I hadn’t heard about them either. A quick publisher search on Biblio (dot com) reveals several of their books for under $5.

  2. Hi
    Is there any news of translations of · Piotr Szewc’s poetry into English? Also, his 2nd novel Zmierzchy i poranki?
    many thanks for any help.

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in: Logo

You are commenting using your account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s