Contents and summaries 2/2017

Spis treści numeru 2/2017

Marek Kusiba: Rajskie (Heavenly) – poems / 7

Joanna Clark: The Year of Mercy / 24

The protagonists of the story, Letycja and Krystyna, have known each other since childhood. After the Second World War, the girls were brought up together and lived in one room until Krystyna’s parents, who had been exiled to Siberia when she was still very young, come back. The story is set several decades later. It is narrated by Letycja, who now lives in Canada. The elderly ladies come to Podkowa Leśna to “walk the so-called trail of memories.” They visit their childhood home, and when they pass by the church, Letycja decides to make a confession. It becomes an occasion to an even deeper immersion in the past and a recollection of the preparations for the first communion carried out by Grandma based on the Ten Commandments. It turns out that the narrator had a reason to go back to Church and “deserve a commendable burial.” Yet it is not that easy …

Roch Sulima: Life by the Word. On the Method of Wiesław Myśliwski’s Prose / 34

The text is devoted to the prose of Wiesław Myśliwski. In his analysis, the author draws particular attention to the language regarded by the writer not only as a tool for the creation of the worlds in his novels, but above all as a central link of human experience, consolidating  the world and bestowing meaning upon existence. Myśliwski’s books demonstrate the process of transition from oral culture, characteristic of the communities based on magical-mythical worldviews, to the civilization of the written word – dead, in a sense, because of a broken  relationship with the empirically experienced reality. Nevertheless, it is in the language and in the linguistic image of the world that the memory of the essence of humanity is kept, and the confrontation with the meaning contained in our speech brings us back to transcendence, though variously comprehended. Myśliwski’s prose is at the same time an attempt to return to the basic values ​​behind the great words (such as “fate,” “love,” “despair”) and the crisis of “inter-era” – the times when a man devoid of his roots must seek his own place in the chaos of various orders and “narrations.”

Anna Augustyniak: poems / 47

Maciej Płaza: Stone / 50

Kamień (Stone) is one of the chapters of Maciej Płaza’s novel Robinson w Bolechowie (Robinson in Bolechow). Its plot spans from the Second World War to the present times (the novel will be published by WAB). The chapter presents a fragment of the turbulent fate of one of the protagonists, the stonemason Francis, who survived the pogrom of the Polish population by the Ukrainians in Volhynia and tried unsuccessfully to find himself a place in the so-called Western Territories, which after the war became a part of Poland. The protagonist is trying to free himself from the cruelty of the world, but the war had infected him too much.

Marian J. Kawałko: poems / 56

Jacek Łukasiewicz: Our Witch. The Poems of Stanisław Grochowiak / 60

A sketch dedicated to the lyrical work of Stanisław Grochowiak. The author draws special attention to the poem Nasza wiedźma (Our Witch), published in 1958 in the book (Menuet z pogrzebaczem) Minuet with Fire Poker. It is in this poem, largely the author’s artistic manifesto, that the important features of Grochowiak’s poetry are revealed. These are: permeation of what is singular and firmly integrated with the present with the universal and the timeless; emphasizing the materiality of things and human body, and, on the other hand, assigning them with allegorical and symbolic meanings; skilful handling of a grotesque; the pursuit of poetic transformation of described  objects in order to unveil their hidden essence; sensitivity to history and its transformation. The plethora of this work, its internal logic and the principles of evolution, can be best understood by people of the generation of the poet who grew up in the mid-50s, experiencing the same disappointments and hopes as the author of the sketch.

Ewa Mazur: poems / 67

Andrzej Jaroszyński: Winter in Canberra (Memoirs of Ambassador) / 69

The featured fragments have been selected from a larger collection of notes conducted at the time when the author was the Ambassador of the Republic of Poland in Norway and Iceland (2001-2005) and Australia and Papua-New Guinea (2008-2013). His diplomatic and consular experience, however, is much more prolific  – Andrzej Jaroszyński, among others, served as Consul of the Republic of Poland in Chicago (1991-1994), Adviser -Minister of the Embassy in Washington (1994-1998), Director of the Department of European Security Policy, then to the MFA’s Security Policy Department (1998-2000), Deputy Director of the MFA’s Information System Department (2005-2006) and Director of the MFA’s Department of America (2006-2008). His notes reveal many details of the Ambassador’s daily life. He writes about his participation in cultural events and celebrations organized by other countries, speeches at international conferences and symposia, as well as the interviews he has given. An interesting topic is the description of informal meetings and expeditions with his Australian friends. In the notes we will also find reflections on the most important events of the period, such as street riots in the UK, financial crises, Greek meltdown and attacks in Norway.

Joanna Pawłat: poems / 78

Stanisław Dłuski: Existential Peregrinations of Andrzej Busza / 82

Analysis of the work of Andrzej Busza – a Polish poet permanently living in Vancouver, associated with the group called “Continents,” professor at the University of British Columbia – conducted from the perspective of existential critique. Busza’s protagonist – lonely in the hostile world, embroiled in the conflict between important values, heroically faithful to his beliefs – looks for the traces of sacrum that would allow him to establish his own humanity. The dark, apocalyptic poetics of these poems brings to mind the texts of catastrophists, heralding the decadence of culture and the extermination of spirituality. This sense of homelessness in a foreign reality, the awareness of the loss of rootedness in tradition, brings the poet closer to the philosophy and art of existentialism whose purpose is above all to discover the metaphysical foundation of being and to reveal the transcendent sense of the existence of the individual.

Paulina Wojciechowska: Amnesia / 87

During her earlier visits to Wroclaw, the main character of this story was an unintentional listener of the xenophobic perorations of the taxi driver and failed in the school science olympiad. This time as well not everything goes as planned. Visiting her aunt in the nursing home, the protagonist comes across a friend from the past, who also visits a relative suffering from memory loss. The “Philosopher,” as she calls the man, functions in her memory mainly due to his failed attempts to ask her on a date. When he asks her again, this time the woman decides to give him a chance. However, having just arrived to the Philosopher’s apartment, she is informed that her aunt, who has been trying to run away from the nursing home for months, finally managed to escape…

Michał Czorycki: poems / 94

Adam Broż: On the Road to Rome and Visits to Europe / 98

Memories narrated by Adam Broż – art historian who has lived in Italy since 1965, Rome-based tour guide, collector of prints, long-time administrator of the Knights of Malta Hospice in Rome, as well as secretary of well-known Christian Democratic politician Charles Popiel and Emeryk Hutten Czapski. The author describes the reasons behind his decision to leave Poland, recalls the first impressions of his stay in the Eternal City, and his dramatic scooter journey across Europe shortly after he had moved to the West.


The Image of the Priest in the Polish Culture of the 21st Century

Łukasz Janicki: Introduction / 104

Rev. Andrzej Luter: The Life of a Priest, or Tares and Wheat / 105

Rev. Edward Walewander: Priest Today / 107

Rev. Janusz Kozłowski: Christian Ministry – the Union of Sacrum and Profanum / 109

The third part of the survey “The image of the priest in the Polish culture in the first fifteen years of twenty-first century,” carried out by “Akcent” among the clergy who cooperate with the journal. The responses indicate how the respondents assess the image of priests projected in movies, books, press, news and communications media; what they think about priests’ writing activity; what is new in the message of Pope Francis’ preaching and what tasks in relation to culture face the Catholic Church today.


Poets, poets …

Paweł Mackiewicz: To Improve the World [Jacek Podsiadło „Włos Bregueta” (“Breguet’s Hair”)]; Jan Wolski: A Poet Physically Metaphysical [Janusz Szuber „Rynek 14/1” (“Main Square 14/1”)]; Zbigniew Chojnowski: Eugeniusz Tkaczyszyn-Dycki, or Fleeting and Reworking [Eugeniusz Tkaczyszyn-Dycki „Nie dam ci siebie w żadnej postaci” (“I Will Not Give Myself Up to You in Any Form”)]; Teresa Tomsia: It is not about Poems [Krzysztof Kuczkowski „Kładka” (“Footbridge”)]; Urszula Gierszon: Locks and Key [Joanna Pawłat „Bunt maszyn” (“Machine Revolt”)]; Iwona Gralewicz-Wolny: “I am Writing a Poem to the Beat of Passing” [Elżbieta Wicha-Wauben „Pejzaż z wędrowcami” (“A Landscape with Wanderers”)] / 112

Discussions of the latest books of poems written by literary scholars and critics. They contain detailed analyses and characterize the most popular contemporary currents and literary phenomena.


Lechosław Lameński: In Dialogue with Nature and Mathematical Vision of the World. Piotr Lech and his Graphics / 136

An article devoted to the artwork of Piotr Lech, a graphic artist born in 1954 in Skarżysko-Kamienna, the director of one of the few Polish Departments of Graphic Design and Lithography at the Institute of Fine Arts of the Faculty of Arts at Maria Curie-Sklodowska University, as well as the creator of the Computer Studio, where he has developed his own program of computer techniques in education and graphic design. The works of Piotr Lech reveal a profound reflection on nature, natural laws and the artist himself regarded as one of multiple microscopic particles of nature. He perceive the artwork as a way to communicate with others. Lech is fascinated with the line, its tremendous versatility of expression in shaping an intriguing and undeniably spatial form of art. For decades the main area of ​​his artistic activity was lithography. With time, however, he was more and more fascinated with a computer, which, according to Piotr Lech, is perfect for abstract creation, seeking new qualities in form and color.

Piotr Sendecki: Lore Bert in Lublin / 145

Overview of Lore Bert’s art exhibition The Vortex of Cultures – Fragile Values, arranged by Dorothea van der Koelen and Krystyna Rzędzian at the Lublin Museum of Art. Lore Bert was born in 1936 in Gießen. She studied painting in Darmstadt and at the Academy of Fine Arts in Berlin. She has made over 250 exhibitions in nearly 30 countries. In her work her main component is paper – material that is extremely easy to destroy – which is connected with the artist’s conviction about the fragility of human life and its transience. The awareness of this fragility determines Bert’s pursuit to find a sense of stability in enduring values, in the search for the good, the beauty and the service to the human community. In the Lublin Museum of Art at the Castle, Lore Bert has displayed almost 30 works: emblematic paintings – large format reliefs (200 x 200 cm), smaller works on paper and collages dazzling with acronyms, minimalism, delicacy and subtlety of expression. There was also an installation performed with the active participation of the students from Lublin artistic secondary school made of Japanese paper. The installation was inspired by the Lublin panorama with characteristic towers above the Old Town: the towers of churches, city gates, donjon and the crown of the Holy Trinity Chapel. In the interior of this chapel, one of the most precious monuments of Lublin, the artist has presented its neon light installation. 


Eliza Leszczyńska-Pieniak: Borderlands Cultural Center / 150

An article devoted to the Foundation Borderlands 2000 “Home of the Polish Art of Word, Music and Painting in Nadrzecze near Biłgoraj,” founded on 10th May 1997 by actress Alicja Jachiewicz-Szmidt, actor and painter Stefan Szmidt and their daughter Dominika Szmidt-Monsuy. The Foundation conducts the activities supporting the art and culture of Polish eastern Borderlands and protecting their historical cultural heritage, traditions and customs. It intensively supports the artistic development of young people and encourages the integration of  the local community. The Szmidt family created their own space for theatrical activities and cultivated their own audience. Among numerous theatrical works realized in Nadrzecze, they great popularity was achieved by Chłopi (The Peasants) (1998) or Klątwa (The Curse) (2007), but the greatest publicity was gained by Wiesław Myśliwski’s play Drzewo (The Tree) (2001) – Stefan Szmidt traveled with the actors to distant places to play under the old monumental trees. Worth mentioning is a legendary performance of Janusz Olejniczak and Marek Mosia’s orchestra AUKSO (1999). What is more, Pożegnanie i powitanie sitarzy – co się nazywa ŻAŁOSNE i RADOSNE (Farewell and Welcoming of the Siters – Which is Called  MISERABLE and JOYFUL) received the award of the Marshal of the Lubelskie Voivodship for “the most interesting folklore event in the voivodship in 2001.”  Schmidts’ celebrations were attended by both folk and professional artists (including Teresa Budzisz-Krzyżanowska, opera singer and painter Wiesław Ochman, painters Jerzy Duda-Gracz, Antoni Fałat and Stanisław Baj).


Jarosław Cymerman: Verification. Theatrical Case of 1946 / 158

Historical reconstruction, based on press releases, of the reception of Irena Ładosiówna’s play titled Weryfikacja (Verification). The play staged at the Municipal Theater in Lublin in the season of 1946/1947 aroused great controversy and soon afterwards got cancelled. The tale of a woman who got involved in intimate contacts with one of the Gestapo officers, stole from him important plans, and yet, by doing so, fell in love with her victim, was read by the critics as an attempt at the moral cleansing of those who cooperated during the war with the enemy. The charges that were brought against some representatives of Lublin actors after 1945 caused that the discussions on Verification moved far beyond literary issues and became an occasion for direct attacks on people who had been under suspicion – not always rightly – of collaborating with the Germans.


Ewa Dunaj: The City of Poets? / 164

Departure from St. Petersburg is an opportunity for the author to critically reconcile with her earlier ideas about this city. The symbol of her feelings is the statue of Anna Akhmatova on the banks of the Neva River. The eyes of the stone figure look at the building on the other side of the former Stalinist prison where the poet’s husband and son had been interned. In front of the prison there stands a sculpture of two sphinxes with cruelly deformed faces: on the one hand beautiful women’s faces, on the other, hollowed-out sculls with empty eyeholes. They are the guards that let the convicts go only in one direction – towards shackles and death. Petersburg is not a city of creative freedom; no one remembers today about a famous dissident poet Josif Brodsky, who was born there…


Leszek Mądzik: Without a Trace (essay) / 167


Marek Danielkiewicz: Praise of “Simple Songs” / 168


Jarosław Wach: Laureates of the Medal of the “Akcent” Eastern Culture Foundation 2016 / 170

The award of the “Akcent” Eastern Culture Foundation was established in 1995. Its first laureate was prof. Jerzy Bartmiński. In 1998, the Council of the Foundation accepted the design of a medal prepared by the artist Jolanta Słomianowska. Since then, the medal has been awarded for outstanding cultural and social achievements, primarily in Central and Eastern Europe. Previous winners of the medal include, among others. Dr. Dora Kacnelson, prof. Irena Sławińska, Dmytro Pawlyczko, Bohdan Zadura, Ryszard Kapuściński, Rev. Wacław Oszajca, Wojciech Młynarski, prof. Jerzy Święch, Wiesław Myśliwski, prof. István Kovács, Hanna Krall, Konrad Sutarski. Last year, three distinguished winners were honoured with the medal: Tadeusz Chabrowski from New York, Mykola Riabczuk from Kiev and Leszek Mądzik from Lublin.


Konrad Sutarski: Sándor Csoóri (1930-2016) and his Polish Ties / 175

Konrad Sutarski is a poet and essayist who has lived in Hungary since 1965. Sutarski is a Polish activist and national politician (among others the initiator of the Forum of Polish Artists in Hungary, the founder of the Museum and Archive of the Hungarian Polonia, the editor-in-chief of the monthly “Polonia Węgierska” in 2009-2011) and the creator of television documentaries and artistic films. In this personal essay he writes about Sándor Csoóri, a Hungarian poet and essayist exhibiting great sensitivity to the fate of his country. Demonstrating enormous energy and passion, Csoóri applied ethical criteria to his private, social and national life. He did not idealize the truth, only followed it in order to find it. He was also very interested in Poland, to the point of fascination with the Polish nation, who did not succumb to communist violence. He felt special spiritual affinity with Tadeusz Nowak and Zbigniew Herbert. The latter he had not known personally for a long time, but nevertheless felt an inner bond with the poet who was one of the leading intellectuals fighting against the communist lawlessness.

Waldemar Michalski: Zbigniew Strzałkowski – As He will be Remembered … (12.10.1933-28.02.2017) / 181

An article devoted to Zbigniew Strzałkowski, a famous poet and painter, who passed away  recently. For sixty years he actively participated in the artistic life of Lublin. He is the author of over thirty books of poetry and prose. His paintings and graphics were exhibited in numerous galleries. He was also known as the creator of more than five hundred exlibrises. Strzałkowski was born in 1933 in Drohiczyn Poleski (now beyond the Polish borders). Between 1957 and 1962 he studied art history at the Catholic University of Lublin. He was co-founder of the student group “Inops” (1959), the poetry group “Prom” (1960) and the Student Literary Club “Counterpoints” (1965). He initiated the Teachers’ Literary Club of Józef Czechowicz (1968), as well as the Workers’ Literary Club “Profiles” and the SIGNUM poetry group (1979 – poets referred in their work to the social doctrine of the Church and the tradition of Christian art). At the same time he was an active member of the Association of Polish Artists. He also belonged to the Katyn Family (his father was murdered in Katyn).

Jan Lewandowski: Bronek / 186

A text dedicated to Bronisław Miron Seniuk, who passed away on 7th November 2016. He was a historian and art historian, worked in museums, educational institutions, documentation of monuments, agriculture, felling forest, domestic and foreign construction and transportation. His best memories include the years spent in the Monument Conservation Laboratories and the Center for Documentation of Historical Monuments. He authored almost 40 articles devoted mainly to his beloved seventeenth century – he studied spatial layouts, architecture and Orthodox art (mostly Greek-Catholic) and even field fortifications. He was a man of the Borderlands – he was born on 27th August 1940 in Uhrynow in the pre-war Sokal district in the province of Lviv. He spoke of himself as a Ukrainian, or a Ukrainian Pole.

Józef F. Fert: Poet’s Saga / 189

A discussion of the book Opowieści o miłości i mroku (A Tale of Love and Darkness) by Amos Oz – a Jewish writer, professor of literature at Ben Gurion University, recipient of honorary doctorates of universities in Siena, Melbourne, Bucharest, Lodz and Milan, and for many years a potential candidate for the Nobel Prize for Literature. Inspired by the autobiographical facts, the novel captivates the readers with its unique atmosphere, beauty of the language, poetic expression, and its superbly rendered narrative melody. The tragic history of the family of the Polish-born protagonist is composed of the feelings of love and the fears of death highlighted in the book’s title. Individual episodes of the past are evoked by the writer and reinterpreted from the distance, thus the book also raises an important question about the role of memory in the literature.

Paweł Jasnowski: Pilch in Zoom / 193

A sketch presenting Jerzy Pilch in the light of two recent biographical publications: a book Pilch w sensie ścisłym (Pilch in the Strict Sense) by Katarzyna Kubisiowska and a collection of interviews with the writer conducted by Ewelina Pietrkowiak entitled Zawsze nie ma nigdy (Always there is Never). Although these publications allow us to gain a better understanding of the life and character of Jerzy Pilch, this author never makes things seem obvious. Despite his public exposure to the readers, Pilch remains first and foremost a literary person – a man who creates his own image, just as the fictional worlds are created. So what is the real face of Jerzy Pilch, what does literary creativity mean to him, what are his fears, and what goals does he set for himself? 

Józef F. Fert: A House Full of Poetry and Melancholy / 198

A text inspired by a bilingual (Polish-English) book Stawisko – dom sztuki, dom bez granic / The Stawisko manor in Polish culture – a House without borders by Robert Papieski and Małgorzata Zawadzka. The family residence founded by Stanisław Wilhelm Lilpop after the wedding of his daughter Anna and Jarosław Iwaszkiewicz became an important center of Polish cultural life in the interwar period. During World War II Stawisko served as a safe haven for many prominent figures in the art world, and after 1945 continued to serve as a literary and artistic salon. At present, Stawisko is home to the Museum of Anna and Jarosław Iwaszkiewicz. This book allows the reader to trace the history of this extraordinary house, and, thanks to numerous reproductions included in the book, to explore the unique collections of paintings, documents, photographs and original versions of important literary and musical works.

Wojciech Młynarski (26.03.1941-15.03.2017) / 202

The text devoted to Wojciech Młynarski, acclaimed author of lyrics for the songs which were performed by Młynarski himself or by the most eminent Polish artists; also a poet, satirist, columnist, translator, “Akcent” collaborator for a number of years and a co-founder of the foundation supporting the journal.

Notes about the authors / 205