Tag Archives: Stanisław Barańczak

Silesius Award winners

Ah, there was more to that Silesius Award than I let on in the previous post. Not only was Stanisław Barańczak honored for his entire oeuvre (the award that went to Tadeusz Różewicz last year, when the Silesius was established), but Krystyna Miłobędzka was given the prize for best poetry volume of the year (Gubione [Lost]) and Dariusz Basiński got the prize for best first book of poetry (Motor kupił Duszan [Duszan’s Bought a Motorbike]).

As an award, the Silesius is pretty serious business. The entire oeuvre award comes with a prize of 100,000 zloties (roughly $30,000 at today’s exchange rate), the winner of the best poetry volume award receives 50,000 (~$15,000), and the winner for the best first book gets 20,000 zloties (~$6,000).

The jury for the award this year was headed by Prof. Jacek Łukasiewicz, and included Prof. Przemysław Czapliński, Grzegorz Jankowicz, Dr. Adam Poprawa, Prof. Tadeusz Sławek, Justyna Sobolewska, and Prof. Marian Stala.

Last year, in addition to Różewicz, the award for best book went to Andrzej Sosnowski. The best first book award is evidently a new category introduced this year.

Correction (9 May 2009): MLB comments that “Silesius First Book Award was awarded last year, to Julia Szychowiak for Po sobie (After Self).”

New Szymborska poem in Granta Magazine online

There is a poem from Wisława Szymborska’s new book, Tutaj (Here), published in January by Wydawnictwo Znak, on Granta‘s online site. It’s the second installment of the magazine’s new series of contemporary poetry (the first installment, last month, presented two lovely poems by Jack Gilbert). Translated by Clare Cavanagh and Stanisław Barańczak, “Teenager” is, I believe, the first new poem of Szymborska’s to appear in English in several years. Although Tutaj has gotten lukewarm reviews in Poland, this poem has all the reflective economy, torsion, and wit we’ve come to expect and love in the best of Szymborska’s poetry.

Judging from their website, it looks as if the most recent issue of NOR (New Ohio Review) has a special feature on Szymborska: http://www.ohiou.edu/nor/. Mostly this comprises short essays about her work, but I understand that some newly translated poems are included in the issue as well.

Stanisław Barańczak wins Silesius Poetry Award

This just in from the Book Institute:

Stanisław Barańczak will receive the Lifetime Achievement Award in the second annual Wrocław Silesius Poetry Award.

“We mainly have Barańczak to thank for the whole great ferment in Polish poetry at the turn of the 1960s/70s. He was the main representative of the new mystical poetry of the late 60s. And it was he, finally, who brought Polish readers a wide range of artists from England, America and Russia through his translations,” stated Prof. Jacek Łukaszewicz, the head of the jury.

The competition jury also announced seven nominees for the book of the year award, and three for the debut of the year award.

The following works have been nominated for the book of the year: Enjoy by Roman Honet, Lost by Krystyna Miłobędzka, Tiny! Tiny! by Edward Pasewicz, Trap by Marcin Sendecki, Filters by Adam Wiedemann, Everything by Bohdan Zadura, and A Song of Relationships and Dependencies by Eugeniusz Tkaczyszyn-Dycki.

For debut of the year, the nominees are: Dariusz Basiński for Duszan Bought a Motorbike, Sławomir Elsner for Antipodes, and Monika Mosiewicz for Cosinus salsa.

The winners in the various categories will be announced on 17 April at a gala ceremony at Wrocław’s Polish Theater. Apart from the Silesius statuettes, the winners will receive cash awards: 100,000 zloties for Lifetime Achievement, 50,000 zloties for Book of the Year, and 20,000 zloties for Debut.

The Wrocław Silesius Poetry Awards are organized by the City of Wrocław. The awards are intended to promote the most important works and artists in Polish poetry. Last year’s award for lifetime achievement went to Tadeusz Różewicz.

Ewa Lipska in the 21st Century

The latest issue (#15) of the San Francisco-based translation journal Two Lines came in the mail yesterday, and what I’ve read so far is tremendous: two really amazing poems by French poet Emmanuel Moses, translated by Marilyn Hacker; works by Latvian poet Pēters Brūveris, translated by Inara Cedrins (two poems that remind me somehow of that other great Baltic poet Johannes Bobrowski) and Lithuanian novelist Ričardas Gavelis, translated by Elizabeth Novickas (an excerpt from Vilnius Poker, which Open Letter has just published); a number of Old English rune poems translated by John Estes (I have to admit I was more interested in discerning a connection with the Old English, which I know almost nothing about, than reading the translations…); and three lovely poems by Ewa Lipska, translated by Margret Grebowicz. There’s a lot more that I haven’t gotten to, all of it enticing. The issue is subtitled “Strange Harbors” and is quite thoughtfully edited. You can find more information about it (and past issues of Two Lines) at the Center for the Art of Translation website.

cover-two-lines

It’s nice to see work by Lipska in English again. She has been one of the stalwarts of Polish poetry since her debut in the early 1960s, and is associated with the New Wave poets— Barańczak, Zagajewski, Kornhauser (in the same way that Barbara Guest is associated with Ashbery, O’Hara, and Schuyler, I would add)—both because they are of the same generation and on account of the linguistic skepticism that characterized all of their work in the 1970s. Lipska, however, has continued to pursue this poetic, while the others haven’t really, except maybe Kornhauser. And if her contemporary Zagajewski can be considered an inheritor of Herbert, she might be considered an heir-apparent to Różewicz.

The now defunct Forest Books brought out a book of Lipska’s poetry in 1991, Poet? Criminal? Madman?, translated by British translators Barbara Plebanek and Tony Howard, which is out of print. I’ve just learned of another Plebanek-Howard collaboration, Arc Publications’ Pet Shops and Other Poems, which is not distributed in the U.S. and was evidently not very well publicized anywhere. She has also appeared in several anthologies over the years: Barańczak’s and Cavanagh’s 1991 Spoiling Cannibals’ Fun, Bassnett’s and Kuhiwczak’s Ariadne’s Thread, Regina Gról’s 1996 Ambers Aglow. But probably because of the galvanization of a canon of Polish poets that happened more or less when Szymborska got the Nobel Prize in 1996, Lipska has fallen out of view—the American view, at least.

(Based on my own memory of the time, I’d say that prior to 1996—or let’s say 1995, when View With a Grain of Sand came out—Szymborska was only marginally better known in the U.S. than Poland’s other major woman poets: Lipska, Julia Hartwig, Urszula Kozioł; and was certainly no better known than Różewicz, with whom she shared Magnus Krynski and Robert Maguire as her first translators. Also, in the 1980s, largely due to Miłosz’s very active promotion of her and a single hardbound volume with Harcourt Brace, Anna Świr was far better known than Szymborska, though who reads her now?)

Anyway, back to Lipska. We’re about to see a lot of her again in a very short while: Northwestern University Press has a volume slated for their fall catalogue: THE NEW CENTURY, which comprises poems from at least six of her recent books, with the lion’s share coming from 1999 (1999) and Newton’s Orange (2007). The volume will also be furnished with forewords by Ewa Lipska herself, Szymborska, and both of the translators: Robin Davidson (who is a professor in the English Department at University of Houston Downtown) and Ewa Elżbieta Nowakowska (a younger Polish poet based in Kraków). Lipska’s translator for the poems in Two Lines, Margaret Grebowicz (who is a professor in the Philosophy and Religious Studies Department at Goucher College), also has a complete manuscript that is looking for a publisher. I haven’t seen it, but judging from the three lovely poems in the magazine, I hope it does find one soon. In any case, with Knopf publishing books by Julia Hartwig and Janusz Szuber (forthcoming in May—I’ll be posting something on this shortly) and this book by Ewa Lipska coming out with Northwestern, it seems there might be a new wave of interest in Polish poetry afoot.

ewa_lipska_obraz_027Ewa Lipska (photo credit: http://www.zgapa.pl)