Contents and Summaries 2/2023

Spis treści numeru 2/2023

Anna Maria Goławska: poems / 7

Jarosław Cymerman: The Power of Drama / 11

The article is an attempt to diagnose the situation in which contemporary Polish drama finds itself, particularly from the perspective of theatrical practice. The author argues that, despite the large number of texts and premieres based on them, drama in Poland is in crisis, primarily caused by the blurring of the category of dramatic works. This is a result, among other things, of the popularity of the post-dramatic theatre concept, adopted by creators and critics as the main way of thinking about texts written for performance on stage. On the other hand, two recent collections of plays can be seen as an example of the opposite tendency, namely thinking about drama as a coherent and distinctive literary genre: To wstyd tak mówić (It’s Shameful to Talk Like That) by Marek Modzelewski and Kwartety otwockie (Otwock Quartets) by Tadeusz Słobodzianek.

Keywords: contemporary drama, post-dramatic theatre, theatrical life in Poland, Anna Wakulik, Wera Makowskx, Piotr Pacześniak, Marek Modzelewski, Tadeusz Słobodzianek

Małgorzata Skałbania: Carrefour, Care and Oven / 18

This prose miniature was written during a stay in Igny, a town between Paris and Versailles. After striking up a conversation at a bus stop, the narrator heard a response enriched with a description of a nearly mystical vision that arose from a mixture of knowledge drawn from the Quran, Bible, and life experiences. The figure of this peculiar prophetess reminded the narrator of other such “visionaries” encountered by chance on the Carrefour bus in Lublin, as well as on the streets of London and Fareham. The personal thread of the stranger from Oran transforms the waiting time into a time of distant journeys. The prophecy, on the other hand, creates a reality of freedom.

Alfred Marek Wierzbicki: poems / 22

Bogusław Bakuła: There and Back Again through the Knots of Words. On the Past and Present of Roman Chojnacki’s Poetry / 26

An article dedicated to the work of Roman Chojnacki (born 1954), a Polish poet who lived in Canada from 1988 and returned to Poland in 2018. The direct cause for the creation of this essay is the publication in recent years of two volumes of Chojnacki’s poems – Dla tego życia (For this Life, 2018), which synthetically shows the author’s poetic journey between 1978-2018, and Pasterz słoneczników (The Shepherd of Sunflowers, 2021), which announces a new stage in his work. Chojnacki’s poetry prior to 2018 can be distinguished into two periods, different in terms of poetic themes and linguistic sensitivity: 1978-1986 and 2000-2018. The first period is characterized by a strong emphasis on ethical aspects of individual and collective life. During this time, volumes of poetry written under the influence of experiences from the period of martial law in Poland stand out. In the second, the Canadian period, the poet enters the world of private memories, reflects on his own identity, and moves beyond problems related to Polish culture towards universal culture. Reminiscences indirectly related to the Holocaust and directly related to the dialogue of cultures and the transformation taking place in the world prove to be important. In the latest volume of poetry, Chojnacki returns to Polish themes again, both current and historical, and addresses issues of identity upon returning to his homeland.

Keywords: Roman Chojnacki, Polish poetry, martial law, emigration, Canada, Holocaust, anti-Semitism, patriotism, identity

Roman Chojnacki: poems / 43

Witold Graboś: And Nothing / 47

The protagonist of the story is Tadzik – a man perceived by the narrator as unusual and fascinating in his own way, with an unclear past, while by the local community he is seen as a freak, a deviant. The work interweaves two ways of perceiving human fate: one typical of a child, stemming from the impression of the extraordinariness and uniqueness of experiences (the narrator), and one that involves breaking accepted norms and rules (Tadzik). Both perspectives are inscribed in the extreme experience of passing, which is usually approached through a historical dimension. However, in detachment from individual perception, it appears as an impenetrable nothingness.

Marek Danielkiewicz: poems / 52

Tania Malarczuk: Puma Concolor (Puma) / 54

Is it possible that someone in Kiev keeps a puma? This short story by Ukrainian writer, essayist, and journalist Tania Malarczuk (born in 1983 in Ivano-Frankivsk) from the collection Bestiariusz (Bestiary) answers that question. It is a story of Maszka – an employee of a pet store, who struggles with a certain physical defect and longs for her prince in an elegant suit and polished shoes. It is also a story about loneliness and reconciling with one’s own nature.

Jan Henryk Cichosz: poems / 62

Ewa Dunaj: “And I Will Return to the Home Where I No Longer Cry”. On the Poetry of Kamila Janiak / 65

The poetry of Kamila Janiak is a record of extreme and violent emotions, such as fear bordering on panic, a sense of emptiness and alienation, despair, aggression, hatred, tenderness, and compassion. It is also an expression of the experiences of a sensitive individual in contact with a world full of constant threats. Hence the constant need for vigilance, tension, and readiness to defend oneself, even when love or motherhood is at stake. The six volumes of poetry published by Janiak since her debut in “Akcent” in 2004 create a dark and at times difficult narrative due to the load of predatory aggression supported by vivid, expressive language. The strength of this poetry lies in the accurate recognition of reality and the ability to find a linguistic equivalent for the emotions and experiences it evokes. At the same time, biographical, generational, and socio-political factors make Janiak’s lyrical expression read like a document of the era.

Keywords: Kamila Janiak, Polish poetry, motif of death, motif of love, motherhood, memory, mourning, existence, catastrophism, apocalypse

Jolanta Kessler: Biennale in Venice / 78

Partly autobiographical story written several years after the exhibition described in it took place. The inspiration could have been either a strong emotional experience or a complete mystification, which sometimes accompanies the Venice Biennale, as in the case of the exhibition at the Punta della Dogana gallery about treasures found at the bottom of the sea that never existed.

Adam Wiesław Kulik: From the Height of my Cliff / 80

Jan Lewandowski: Polish-Estonian Genealogies: Ms. Natalia / 85

The essay presents the profile of Natalia Sindecka, an Estonian citizen of Russian origin, a graduate in Slavic studies at the University of Tartu and Polish studies at Maria Curie-Skłodowska University in Lublin, where she defended her doctoral thesis on Polish-Estonian cultural relations in the interwar period. The protagonist of the essay is a Polish language lecturer at the University of Tallinn, actively participating in Polish, Russian, and Estonian cultural and academic life. The biography and activities of Natalia Sindecka are presented against a broad background, taking into account the national situation in Estonia – both in the last years of the existence of the Soviet Union and after 1991. This also applies to the academic environment of the University of Tartu, centered around Yuri Lotman.

Keywords: Natalia Sindetskaya, Polish-Estonian relations, University of Tartu, Estonian history, Yuri Lotman, communism, USSR, Maria Curie-Skłodowska University in Lublin

Maciej Melecki: poems / 96

Maria Duszka: Situations / 100

The presented anecdotes are eight funny and sometimes reflective stories based on small episodes from everyday life. An eleven-year-old “philosopher” comforts her eighty-year-old grandmother not to be afraid of old age because everything passes quickly… A twelve-year-old reads with interest the Polish national epic “Pan Tadeusz” – she considers it an interesting work because its characters spend all their time at parties…


Not only analytically …

Wiesława Turżańska: “Tragikotatos”, or “The Most Tragic”, in the Eyes of Today’s Authorities [„Eurypides innowator” (“Euripides Innovator”). Edited by Krzysztof Bielawski and Włodzimierz Staniewski]; Iwona Hofman: “Between Straszewicz and Gombrowicz”. And a Treatise on Friendship [Jerzy Giedroyc, Zygmunt Haupt „Listy 1947-1975” (“Letters 1947-1975”)]; Jarosław Sawic: More Sun, less Saturn [Beata Biały „Słońca bez końca. Biografia Kory” (“Endless Sun. Biography of Kora”)]; Konrad Zych: Literature and Other Addictions [Ryszard Koziołek „Czytać, dużo czytać” (“To Read, Read a Lot”)] / 102

Reviews of recently published scholarly, essayistic and documentary books, seen against the background of the most significant phenomena of contemporary culture.

Poets, poets …

Kamila Dzika-Jurek: The Convex Mirror of the Poem [Urszula Kozioł „Momenty” (“Moments”)]; Ewa Dunaj: What did the Poet Mean? [Zbigniew Chojnowski „Tyle razy nie wiem” (“So Many Times I Don’t Know”)]; Bartosz Suwiński: Traces of Silver Ore [Maciej Bieszczad „Miejsce spotkania” (“Meeting Place”)]; Kamila Dzika-Jurek: Nesting [Jadwiga Graboś „Przeprowadzki” (“Moves”)]; Jan Wolski: Monumentalisation of Anna Frajlich’s Poems [Anna Frajlich „Wiersze zebrane” (“Collected Poems”). Vol. 1. „Przeszczep” (“Transplant”). Vol. 2. „Powroty” (“Returns”)]; Waldemar Michalski: Rafał Rutkowski’s Poetic Windows [Rafał Rutkowski „Na drzewach kwitną wielkie okna” (“Great Windows Bloom on Trees”)] / 119

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


Lechosław Lameński: Kajetan Sosnowski and Gallery 72 in Chełm / 137

Gallery 72, functioning at the Chełm Land Museum named after Wiktor Ambroziewicz, is one of the most interesting and important Polish galleries, consistently promoting contemporary art, especially painting, with an emphasis on all forms of engaged geometric abstraction. The creator of the gallery was Kajetan Sosnowski (1913-1987) in 1972. This artist, born in Vilnius, spent a happy childhood and youth in Chełm. Years later, he returned to the city as a recognized and respected representative of avant-garde movements in the Warsaw art community. His non-representational compositions, in which he emphasized both the role of the material structure (canvas) and the harmony of intense color patches, fascinate with their freshness of perspective and formal maturity. Due to the artist’s health problems, the gallery was managed in the years 1972-2001 by Bożena Kowalska, an art historian and critic from Warsaw, who also initiated the creation of the gallery’s art collection. Following Kowalska, the gallery has been successfully run by Jagoda Barczyńska, thanks to whom Gallery 72 still teems with life, and its collection now contains nearly 3,000 extremely interesting exhibits.

Keywords: Gallery 72, Kajetan Sosnowski, abstract art, collection, exhibitions, open-air events

Anna Dzierżyc-Horniak: Between Revolutionaries, Artists, and Saints. The Critical Practice of Anka Ptaszkowska / 147

The article attempts to look at the critical practice of Anka Ptaszkowska, a recognized art critic and organizer of artistic activities in Poland and France. However, the author does not focus directly on Ptaszkowska herself, but on her collaboration with Włodzimierz Borowski, Edward Krasiński, and Krzysztof Niemczyk. She analyzes their selected artistic activities, in which provocation and scandal were combined with questioning and renewing the most important concepts of art. In this context, the category of “jurodiwy” was mentioned – a saint, a madman, a blessed fool, for whom the essence is living on the margins coupled with “otherness as a counterpoint to earthly everyday life”. By showing the artistic attitudes of creators close to Ptaszkowska, the article indicates what she valued and recognized as avant-garde in art. Thanks to these artists, she discovered the essence of avant-garde, which for her meant radical, experimental, engaged, and world-changing creativity. The article partly refers to the Anka Au Cas Par Cas exhibition at the Museum of Modern Art in Bordeaux (2022), whose Polish version is currently exhibited as Anka Ptaszkowska. By Coincidence at the Museum of Modern Art in Warsaw (February 17 – April 23, 2023).

Keywords: Anka Ptaszkowska, Włodzimierz Borowski, Edward Krasiński, Krzysztof Niemczyk, jurodiwy, questioning the concepts of art, artistic criticism


Jarosław Cymerman: The Victory of the Savage / 162

The article is devoted to the staging of Aldous Huxley’s dystopian novel Brave New World at the Juliusz Osterwa Theater in Lublin, directed by Piotr Ratajczak. Apart from discussing the performance, the author also takes up a broader problem related to ways of realizing science fiction works on stage and methods of updating them. Additionally, he considers the relevance of Huxley’s novel and its reception in the context of contemporary social, civilizational, and technological changes.

Keywords: Aldous Huxley’s Brave New World, science fiction, dystopia, technological progress, globalization


Piotr Sendecki: Brzechwa Less Known / 166

Jan Lesman, also known as the famous Jan Brzechwa, the author of excellent poems for children, is also remembered in history as a lawyer. He achieved a high position in the Polish legal profession already in the interwar period as a sought-after lawyer with deep knowledge and practical experience specializing in copyright law and the protection of creators’ rights. Already at that time the signs of a functionalist approach to law appeared in his thinking, which allows us to assume that he was one of the first legal functionalists in Poland. After the war – although he quickly gave up practicing law due to his literary career – he remained, among others, a legal advisor in the “Czytelnik” publishing house and in the collective copyright management organization ZAiKS, where he held high positions, as well as in the Polish Lawyers’ Union controlled by the communist party. He also led the Lodz branch of the Polish Writers’ Union. The author of the text, presenting Lesman’s profile as a lawyer, refers to the book Brzechwa. Poeta w adwokackiej todze (Brzechwa. A Poet in Lawyer’s Gown) published in 2022 by Ewa Maria Fabian, Dawid Kot, Wojciech Machała and Mariusz Urbanek.

Keywords: Jan Lesman (Jan Brzechwa), law, copyright law, Berne Convention for the Protection of Literary and Artistic Works, mechanical music rights, legal functionalism, Norwid’s legacy dispute, history of the Polish People’s Republic (PRL), ZAiKS, decommunization


Jan Stolarczyk: Karpowicz Still Being Read / 177

Presentation of previously unpublished poems by Tymoteusz Karpowicz (1921-2005), an outstanding poet, prose writer, playwright, and translator who lived in the United States. He is considered one of the leading creators of linguistic poetry, the last great modernist whose lyrics conclude the experience of Polish poetic avant-garde of the 20th century. The poems are preceded by a commentary by Jan Stolarczyk, according to whom they come from the material prepared for the poem Rozwiązywanie przestrzeni (Solving Space), a specific, extreme version of an “open work”, a “work in progress”, which Karpowicz never completed, although he began to create its structure already in 1970.


Bogusław Wróblewski: Bogdan Madej’s Living Diagnoses / 181

Bogdan Madej (1934-2002) was the most outstanding 20th-century prose writer associated with Lublin, author of excellent short stories and novels. His most famous books are the collection of short stories Maść na szczury (Ointment for Rats) and the dystopian novel Piękne kalalie (Beautiful Kalalias), both published in the 1970s by the “Kultura” publishing house in Paris, which was suppressed by the communist authorities in Poland. Wróblewski describes how Madej was perceived as an opposition writer and analyzes the suggestive image of Polish society in the first decades of the communist regime introduced after the war, especially in the short stories in the book Maść na szczury (Ointment for Rats).

Bohdan Zadura: Impermissible such Non-Writing / 185

This article by Bohdan Zadura was written in 1981 and was intended to be published by “Akcent”, along with fragments of the novel Piękne kalalie (Beautiful Kalalias), which was also going to be published for the first time in Poland. However, both were stopped by the censorship of the martial law regime on December 13th of that year. The novel was eventually published by the “Kultura” publishing house in Paris and remained unknown to readers in Poland for many years. For decades, it seemed that the proofs of Zadura’s text, received by “Akcent” from the printing house before the censor’s intervention, had been lost. Now they have been found in the author’s personal archive. Zadura interprets Madej’s work as a metaphorical story about the events of March 1968 in Poland, but also more generally about the mechanisms of power characteristic of any totalitarian system.


Anna Frajlich: We Don’t Steal from the Dead / 190

The text discusses situations in which people witness thefts of objects belonging to dead people or find themselves faced with such a possibility. The author quotes ethical evaluations of such acts based on the memories of the poet Marina Tsvetaeva and relevant passages from the Talmud. According to the author, “by stealing from the dead, we not only take away their things, but also their dignity, and that is the greatest harm we can do to a human being. Such an act deserves contempt and (…) eternal condemnation”. This truth is made relevant in the context of Russia’s recent aggression against Ukraine.


Andrzej Goworski, Marta Panas-Goworska: Gib mir rajzepassy (Give Me Your Passport) / 193


Grażyna Lutosławska: Socks / 196


Leszek Mądzik: Smoke / 199

Notes about authors / 200