Wiesław Myśliwski: A Sap (fragment of a novel) / 7
A fragment of a new novel The Needle’s Eye by Wiesław Myśliwski. Myśliwski is an outstanding Polish prose writer, playwright, screenwriter and editor. The author of repeatedly resumed and translated into more than 20 languages novels: Nagi sad (1967, Naked Orchard), Pałac (1970, The Palace), Kamień na kamieniu (1984, Stone upon Stone), Widnokrąg (1996, The Horizon), Traktat o łuskaniu fasoli (2006, Treatise on Shelling Beans), Ostatnie rozdanie (2013, Last Deal). The narrator of the featured chapter, a university professor, recalls the events from the war and post-war period, especially the time of his youth, when, as a poor student, he lived in exchange for tutoring in a narrow quarters in which two people had to fit in one narrow bed, and later – with yet another torment – three. The memories are accompanied by reflection on the essence of memory, its selectivity, subjectivity and dependence on the norms which are dominant at the given time. The hardest thing to do is to reflect on the memory shared with others – the collective memory. This theme combines reflections on youth and its meaning in life and on the mental specificity of old age. The narrator asks the fundamental questions about the sense of existence, his own fate and death.
Marie Iljašenko: poems / 26
Marcin Klimowicz: The Devil at the Marshal’s Side? Wacław Kostek-Biernacki as a Writer / 29
Wacław Kostek-Biernacki, usually recognized as one of Józef Piłsudski’s subordinates and the cruel commander of the camp in Bereza Kartuska, was also the author of prose. In these texts, he not only expressed his political and social views, but also made interesting use of fairy-tale and fantasy-grotesque motifs. Particular attention was devoted to the problem of the existence of evil in the world, and the way in which he addressed this issue brings to mind the famous works of Mikhail Bulgakov. Leaving aside the black legend of Kostek-Biernacki as “the devil of Bereza,” it is worth perceiving him as an uncompromising man with expressive convictions (due to which he made a lot of enemies in different circles), and, above all, a talented author who could create fascinating and universal literary texts.
Monika Luque-Kurcz: poems / 41
Miłosz Waligórski: The Ships / 44
The story was inspired by the story of Florian Biesik, a writer in Vilamovian language, whom Claudio Magris mentions in his book On Democracy, Remembrance and Central Europe: “subject of the Austro-Hungarian Empire, sent to Trieste, took up the position of the railroad supervisor and remained there until his death, that is until the end of the 1920s, surviving the end of his own world. He lived in the suburbs, in Aurisin, perhaps because there were many Slovenes whose company he truly appreciated.” The events of The Ships take place in Banská Bystrica at the suburban train station. The main protagonists are Jozef Brečtan (or Ivy), a retired railwayman; Srba, a former seaman of the Yugoslavian Navy; Dachshund dog called Container, and, last but not least, a ring of lush wildlife tightening around the station which literally and figuratively takes the life of each of the characters presented in the text in parenthesis.
Rafał Rutkowski: poems / 51
Grzegorz Jędrek: Together or Apart? A Subjective Report on the So-called Young Lublin Poetry / 55
The author of the text – a keen observer and active participant of the cultural life in Lublin – presents his perspective on the most important events of recent years, which made the city an important center of new poetry. Mentioning the best-known names of Lublin poets, characterizing their work and pointing to similarities and differences between them, he asks whether we can talk about the cohesion of the Lublin circle, or, on the contrary, whether the ways of individual poets – often debuting in similar conditions and sharing experiences and the place of residence – are definitely going apart.
Wojciech Dunin-Kozicki: poems / 63
Mirosław Kulisz: The Child of Corn / 66
Eight-year-old Liwka goes away with her older sister, Paula, to the countryside to spend another summer vacation in the country home of her grandparents. Grandma tries to get the girl to help her on the farm to teach her “real life.” For the protagonist, this stay is associated with the hope of experiencing long-awaited freedom during carefree days spent alone, without anyone’s supervision – on the ponds in the gravel pit, among wet meadows, in mazes of corn fields. The village is for Liwka – a girl in navy blue ballet flats – a land that is unclear, a bit disturbing, dark, sometimes dangerous, but also fascinating and attractive in its own way. This summer, thanks to a meeting with Witek Drybała, who is a few years older, Liwka will feel unexpectedly, in the maize thicket, the first hot breath of eroticism. The unexpected finale of this meeting will make Liwka return home not as a child, but someone much more mature.
Edward Zyman: poems / 75
Edyta Frelik: The First Among Equals. Georgia O’Keeffe, a Feminine Face of Avant-garde / 78
An attempt at a new reading of Georgie O’Keeffe’s work, including the great impact of gendered stereotypes on her well-established image. The way of perceiving the famous avant-garde painter as the epitome of female intuition was grounded by her husband Alfred Stieglitz, who saw in her paintings the hallmark of naturalness, naivety and innate – and thus anti-intellectual – sensitivity. Meanwhile, the reading of letters written by O’Keeffe and a more accurate analysis of her statements about art prove that in her works she consistently implemented highly deliberate and rigorous assumptions. The minimalist style of O’Keeffe’s paintings, their apparent realism and the parallel emphasis on the formal values of the painted objects, accompanied by the conciseness and concreteness of her judgments, were aimed at the most comprehensive presentation of the mechanisms of human perception. Thus, the artist was not only a legitimate representative of the mainstream of avant-garde explorations, but was also one of those women who, symbolically, questioned the value of prevailing opinions about gender differences.
Paweł Tański: poems / 88
Maciej Tuora: Diana / 91
Driving a snow-covered country road, the car passes by an ambulance to which the paramedics are loading frozen corpses. The protagonist along with the dog (Diana), inherited from his late ex-wife, travel to a chilly house to escape the problems. The dog and the owner doomed to keep each other’s company try to find themselves in a new situation. Taking advantage of the opportunity to cut himself off from reality, the man tries to finish the script he has been working on for a long time. At night, under the influence of alcohol, he gives vent to emotions and blames the dog – his only listener – for his failures. Drunk, he tries to go out into the cold, but stumbles over the frightened animal. Having injured his head, he lies next to Diana and sleeps through the night. In the morning, still sore, he goes for a walk in the company of the animal. There he notices another person frozen at night. Grateful to the dog, the protagonist for the first time begins to accept the mistakes made in the past.
Przemysław Kaliszuk: Identity Dilemmas in the Prose of Julian Kornhauser / 96
A sketch devoted to the less known part of the literary output of Julian Kornhauser, which is his prose. The novels Kilka chwil (1975, A Few Moments) and Stręczyciel idei (1980, The Solicitor of Ideas), like many other works from the turn of the 1970s and 1980s, deal with the topic of the individual’s identity in the changing social and moral realities and the issue of the relationship between literature and life. The writer among others draws attention to the conventional character of literary tricks, experiments with various types of narrative techniques and fictional constructs, multiplies aporias and ambiguities. In this way, the story of seeking the truth about the substance of a human being shown in these novels gains a wider dimension and becomes a statement about the potential of literature in the era of modernity. At the same time, Kornhauser, although aware of the inability to achieve full agreement between the author and the reader, remains in favor of the model of committed prose, pursuing ethical and intellectual goals.
Samantha Kitsch: poems / 107
Poets, poets …
Iwona Gralewicz-Wolny: A Cuddle of Memory of Piotr Szewc [Piotr Szewc „Światełko” (“The Light”)]; Zbigniew Chojnowski: Rooting Without Rooting (in Ireland) [Małgorzata Południak „Pierwsze wspomnienie wielkiego głodu” (“The First Recollection of the Great Famine”)]; Jadwiga Mizińska: The Gift of a Good Life [Henryk J. Kozak „Udane życie” (“A Good Life”)]; Karol Maliszewski: Various Voices, One Story [“Linie światła / Lines of Light / Linien des Lichts / Lignes de lumière / Šviesos linijos / A fény vonalai / Лінії світла”] / 110
Discussions of the latest books of poetry written by literary scholars and critics. They contain detailed analyzes and characterize the most popular currents and literary phenomena.
Not only analytically …
Aleksander Wójtowicz: Avant-garde, Meaning a Strike [Jakub Kornhauser „Awangarda. Strajki, zakłócenia, deformacje” (“Avant-garde. Strikes, Disturbances, Deformations”)]; Anna Tyrpa: Grains in the Lives of Poles [„Słownik stereotypów i symboli ludowych” (“Dictionary of Stereotypes and Folk Symbols.”) Edited by J. Bartmiński and S. Niebrzegowska-Bartmińska. Vol. II, „Rośliny” (“Plants.”) P. 1, „Zboża” (“Grains.”)]; Iwona Hofman: Value of Conversation. Value in Conversation [Łukasz Marcińczak „Świat trzeba dokończyć. Rozmowy o imponderabiliach” (“The World must be Completed. Conversations about Imponderables”)]; Tomasz Kłusek: Lights on Konrad Bielski [Urszula Gierszon „Konrad Bielski 1902-1970. Życie i twórczość” (“Konrad Bielski 1902-1970. Life and Artistic Activity”)]; Józef Franciszek Fert: Prince of the Sovereign State of the Clouds [„Andrzej. Andrzej K. Waśkiewicz we wspomnieniach” (“Andrzej. Andrzej K. Waśkiewicz in Recollections”)]; Aneta Wysocka: A Man of Dialogue and Compromise [„Sztambuch Michała Jagiełły” (“The Album of Michał Jagiełło”)] / 123
Reviews of recently published academic, essayistic and documentary books, seen against the background of the most important phenomena of contemporary culture.
Lechosław Lameński: Universal or Sacred Artist? Remarks about Artistic Creativity of Marek Piątkowski / 147
An article devoted to Marek Piątkowski (born in 1952). He is an extremely versatile artist. Initially, he was fascinated with animated film. He collaborated with the Studio of Cartoon Films in Bielsko-Biała and the SEMAFOR in Łódź and made five short films. At the same time, he became known as an interesting graphic designer (creating in etching technique). Several years later, he resigned from exhibiting his works in galleries (mainly abroad). At that time architectural and sculptural realizations as well as cooperation with self-government institutions and Roman Catholic parishes became an important sphere of his activity. Thus he became the author of martyrdom monuments (in the cemeteries of Lublin), but especially the creator of the interior of many modern churches (in Lublin and the Archdiocese of Lublin). Marek Piątkowski designs and manufactures: stained glass, mosaics, sgraffito decorations, bas-relief stations of the cross, furniture (cabinets and confessionals, altar mensas, chairs and armchairs), as well as liturgical vessels. In his free time, he enjoys sailing (on the yacht) through the seas and oceans and plays the trumpet.
Alina Kochańczyk: A Recollection of Maria Bechczyc-Rudnicka / 157
A memoir text dedicated to Maria Bechczyc-Rudnicka (1888-1982) – a writer, translator and theater critic, born in Warsaw, and since the end of the Second World War until her death living in Lublin. The author of the article, who personally met Maria Bechczyc-Rudnicka in 1970s, talks about her life and cultural activities, at the same time adding anecdotal details and quoting fragments of reviews written by “Mrs Maria.” From the text emerges a portrait of an exceptional woman, endowed with inexhaustible energy and a huge amount of knowledge and experience. While studying in St. Petersburg, she witnessed the introduction of a great theater reform in Russia, and, as an elderly woman, she followed with passion and satisfaction the successes of amateur theater groups created by the students in Lublin.
In the Face of Nature and Works of Art. Justyna Gorzkowicz Talks about the Writer Kornel Filipowicz with his Son Marcin Filipowicz / 170
Marcin Filipowicz in a conversation that took place during the Polish Language Festival in Szczebrzeszyn, talks about his father Kornel Filipowicz in the context of his fascinations with arts and nature. He also reflects on his father’s relationship with Wisława Szymborska and the influence that both figures, so important for Polish literature, exerted on each other.
DISCOVERED YEARS LATER
Jarosław Cymerman: Initiation, Catastrophe and YWO. On the Unknown Story by Józef Czechowicz / 174
Henryk Zasławski [Józef Czechowicz]: Jack’s Girl / 175
We recall the unpublished story titled Jack’s Girl by Józef Czechowicz, (one of the greatest Polish poets of the interwar period), with an editorial commentary by Jarosław Cymerman, an expert on author’s work. The action takes place among young people living in Warsaw’s Powiśle. The story carries a propaganda message: it encourages young people to join the ranks of the Piłsudski Youth Working Organization. At the same time, the story is an interesting example of the integral character of the writer’s artistic output. Even in this case, Czechowicz was able to express his obsessions and fears, though masked by official optimism, and incorporate them in the text which at first glance seems to remain outside the mainstream of his artistic achievements.
Marek Danielkiewicz: Ode to Nothingness (essay) / 182
Leszek Mądzik: Tailor (essay) / 184
Janina Januszewska-Skreiberg: Hommage á Magdalena Abakanowicz (1930-2017) / 185
A note devoted to the late famous Polish sculptor Magdalena Abakanowicz. The author of the text, residing permanently in Norway, describes how the artist’s works are perceived in this country, and also points out that the abacan creator, highly esteemed all over the world, has not been appropriately commemorated in Warsaw – the city where she spent a significant part of her life.
Wiesława Turżańska: Senility of the Known and the Unknown / 187
A discussion of the volume of poems published in 2015 titled No Matter How Late. Polish-Hungarian Diptych. Its author, Konrad Sutarski, is a poet co-creating in Poznań a poetry group Wierzbak, translator, essayist, former diplomat, and the creator of Hungarian-language documentary films on Polish subjects. Living in Budapest since 1965, the artist is often called the ambassador of Polish culture in Hungary and Hungarian culture in Poland. In his poetry, along with the theme of life on the “double earth,” he raises issues related to passing away, death, faith, the crisis of values in the modern world and the influence of man on the world of nature.
Barbara Kowalik: A Word in Eight Representations / 191
Published in 2016, Light and Shadow. Eight Representations of the Word in British Literature from Hopkins to Hughes by Renata Grzegorzewska was inspired by conversations that the author conducted with her students during literature classes at the university. The publication includes new interpretations of the works of the most famous writers of English Modernism, including James Joyce, Joseph Conrad, T. S. Eliot, Gerard Manley Hopkins and Ted Hughes. The author is particularly interested in the references to the sphere of sacrum appearing in these works. In a kind of defiance to the prevailing opinions about the indifferent or critical attitude that the modernists exhibited towards religion, Renata Grzegorzewska seeks in their texts the testimonies of the presence of the Logos and the opening to transcendence.
Przemysław Kaliszuk: Cekania and involvment / 193
Pomiędzy (In Between) is the third novel of the Lublin prose writer, editor and journalist Grzegorz Filip. The book talks about the initiative of setting up an internet portal, whose creators want to express their views on their own terms, without the mediation and simplification typical of the mass media. Problems arise when the ideas promoted by the intellectuals come into conflict with the policy of the European Union. Filip efficiently combines the elements typical of realistic novels with sensational intrigue, he tracks the emotional problems of his protagonists, and also poses important questions about the role of socio-cultural civic initiatives in the world dominated by the neo-liberal worldview.
Notes about authors / 198