Contents and summaries
Piotr Szewc: poems / 7
Paweł Huelle: Talita / 10
The title story from the collection planned to be published this year is built around the so-called “empty night.” This is what people in the Kashubia region call the last night before the funeral, when people gather in a deceased person’s house to pray the rosary and sing mournful songs until the morning. The characters in the story pray over the body of a twelve-year-old girl who drowned in the river while trying to rescue a careless dog out of the water. Among those who take part in the ceremony are not only family members and neighbors, but also a mysterious pilgrim travelling to redeem his sins. For some characters, the funeral becomes an impulse to reflect on their own past and their life in general. At some point, things take an unexpected turn – there is a fight and a fire. The events of the night affect the whole funeral ceremony which takes place in different circumstances than it could have been expected.
Wojciech Bonowicz: poems / 34
Piotr Gutowski: Is Metaphysics in Contemporary Literature Possible? A few Remarks on the basis of the Nobel Prize Lectures by Wisława Szymborska and Olga Tokarczuk / 36
In its broadest sense, metaphysics is the theory of being understood as any hypothesis explaining the relationships between various types of objects, which in some sense exist, e.g. relationship of the mind to the physical world. By applying this meaning of “metaphysics”, the author asks what metaphysical views can be derived from the Nobel Prize lectures presented by two Polish laureates of this award: the poet Wisława Szymborska and the novelist Olga Tokarczuk. In both cases, these are naturalistic metaphysics of non-reductionist type. In Szymborska’s case, naturalism is connected with the intuition of the fluidity and non-identity of the world in the subsequent moments of time. In the case of Tokarczuk, it is combined with the view that the world is a whole that is given to modern man in pieces and episodes, and the writer’s task is to construct unifying narratives. To her vision of the world Szymborska attaches a mild strand of Montaigne-like scepticism, which is a source of curiosity, stimulates human creativity, and is at the same time an antidote to dangerous fundamentalism. She prefers to formulate problems, deal with episodes and passages, and refrain from making claims. Tokarczuk in turn has the mentality of a warrior who makes diagnoses (e.g. that “something is wrong with the world”) and claims, i.e. she proposes medicine for the disease.
Keywords: metaphysics, philosophy, Wisława Szymborska, Olga Tokarczuk, Nobel Prize, contemporary literature
Rafał Jakub Pastwa: poems / 56
Olga Dziedzic: A First Step / 60
The story takes place in 1930s. After the tragic death of her son, a young Jewish girl, Jafit, falls into depression. Despite the woman’s suffering, her husband Noam pushes towards having another child as soon as possible and finds an ally for his plans in his overbearing elder sister Mara. To oppose Noam and her sister-in-law in the fight for her own independence, Jafit must break the stupor and return to the world she had abandoned when she married a poor tailor, defying her parents’ will and acting against her friends’ advice. But is she strong enough to stage a rebellion?
Adam Ochwanowski: poems / 70
Alina Kochańczyk: Konwicki of Mine / 71
The main part of the essay consists of the author’s recollections of Tadeusz Konwicki. Her admiration for the writer was inspired by Kalendarz i klepsydra (The Calendar and the Hourglass), Konwicki’s first book in the style of a diary. This admiration, soon to be transformed into intellectual fascination, was attributed to: the narrator’s autocreation, unusual ways of self-presentation, and the writer’s play with various – not just literary – conventions. The author was fascinated by Konwicki’s personality as well as his biography and some original stylistic attributes. The direct inspiration for writing the essay was the autobiographical book by Konwicki’s daughter, Maria, published in 2019. The author of the essay confronts the image outlined by Konwicki’s daughter with the image of the writer that she kept in her memory after she had the opportunity to meet Tadeusz Konwicki several times over the course of time.
Keywords: Tadeusz Konwicki, memories, Eastern Foundation of Culture “Akcent”, autobiography, Maria Konwicka, journal
Agnieszka Wojciechowska: poems / 87
Adam Miklasz: The Night at the Teschen Joint / 89
Squeezed between the state border and the railroads, the extraterritorial belt witnesses a “change of guard.” Daytime revelers are getting replaced by a night watch, who gather in the Teschen joint to guard the character of this place by drinking alcohol and having more or less sensible conversations. Apart from indigenous people, the night watch includes exotic-hungry arrivals from various Polish cities which aspire to become metropolises. For the newcomers in particular this will be a night of confrontation with their sometimes inaccurate ideas of people living on the other side of the Olza River.
Karol Samsel: Autodafe 3 / 96
Teresa Kaczorowska: Gombrowicz in Buenos Aires / 98
Witold Gombrowicz sailed to Buenos Aires aboard the Polish transatlantic ship “Chrobry” which set off from Gdynia on her maiden voyage on July 29, 1939. Gombrowicz never thought that he would emigrate from Poland for life. In the end, he loved Argentina, even though the 24 years (1939-1963) he spent in this country were not easy for him. For the first eight years he was struggling with really harsh living conditions, in the following eight years he gained some financial stability thanks to his work at Banco Polaco (1947-1955), while the last eight years of his stay in Buenos Aires (1955-1963) were – despite difficulties – a period of literary stabilization. Gombrowicz had never lost his sense of temporariness and life in between. In Argentina, however, he felt free – from conventions, national responsibilities, Polishness, and double shameful sexuality. This helped him unleash his creative potency and contributed to the creation of his most valuable works.
Keywords: Witold Gombrowicz, Argentina, emigration, Polish Diaspora, Buenos Aires
Anna Terék: From the “Maja” Cycle / 107
Not just analytically …
Wiesława Turżańska: On the “Nobel Prize Stable.” And More … [Jerzy Illg „Mój znak. O noblistach, kabaretach, przyjaźniach, książkach, kobietach, o nowej dekadzie i pięknej plejadzie” (“My Sign. On Nobel Prize Laureates, Cabarets, Friendships, Books, Women, about the New Decade and the Beautiful Pleiad”)]; Grzegorz Józefczuk: Opera Omnia by Franciszek Piątkowski [Franciszek Hipolit Piątkowski „17 lat z PRL. Wybór reportaży” (“17 Years of the Polish People’s Republic. A Selection of Reportages”), „Spacer Aleją Niepotrzebnych. Polska w okresie transformacji. Reportaże i relacje” (“A Walk through the Avenue of the Useless. Poland in the Period of Transformation. Reportages and Reports”)]; Aleksander Wójtowicz: Birds and People [Piotr Tryjanowski „Rozum z ptakami odlatuje” (“The Reason Flies Away with the Birds”)]; Wiesława Turżańska: On the Extraordinary Art of Illustration and its Masters [Eliza Leszczyńska-Pieniak „Czarodzieje wyobraźni. Portrety polskich ilustratorów” (“The Wizards of Imagination. The Portraits of Polish Illustrators”)] / 112
Reviews of recently published scientific, essayistic and documentary books, seen against the background of the most important phenomena of contemporary culture.
Poets, poets …
Zbigniew Chojnowski: Alien out of Love for Him [Krzysztof Koehler „Obce ciało. Wiersze z lat 1989-2019” (“An Alien Body. Poems from 1989-2019”)]; Bartosz Suwiński: In Between the Blinks [Urszula Kozioł „Znikopis” (“A Self-Eraser”)]; Małgorzata Rygielska: “Traces, Ties” [Grażyna Zambrzycka „Ślady” (“Traces”)]; Ewa Dunaj: Sister – Mummy Entwined in Silk Threads [Piotr Mitzner „Siostra” (“Sister”)] / 125
The discussions on the latest poetry books, written by literary scholars and critics. They contain detailed analyzes and characterize the most important contemporary literary trends and phenomena.
Lechosław Lameński: Life and Death. The Art of Irena Nawrot / 142
An essay dedicated to Irena Nawrot (born in 1960), a graduate of the Institute of Art Education (currently the Institute of Fine Arts of the Faculty of Arts) at Maria Curie-Skłodowska University, one of the most interesting and most recognizable avant-garde artists from Lublin. She is associated mainly with experimental photography which puts the human body (especially the female body – often her own) in the center of the inevitably passing time, with a consistent narrative of life and death, as well as with increasingly popular feminist art. She is characterized by exceptional personal poise, good orientation in all trends of the European and global art, especially that of the 20th and 21st centuries, excellent visual hearing, extraordinary sensitivity and the skill of perfect combination of various techniques and materials.
Keywords: avant-garde art, experimental photography, feminist art, cult of the body, vanitas, the inevitability of transience and death, motif of a skull
Magdalena Jankowska: The Core of the Problem / 151
Ich czworo (Four of Them) by Gabriela Zapolska is a study of the family crisis which erupts at the Christmas table where the following characters are seated: a withdrawn teacher of philosophy; his primitive wife, who is tired of the relationship she entered for the sake of social advancement and whose only consolation is an affair with a charming playboy; and a little daughter, aware of the situation, who becomes a hostage in the game between the parents. The hypocrisy of the protagonists in a century-old play and the methods of manipulation they use have not changed, although the director, Paweł Aigner, introduced a new element by emphasizing the bonding role of sex. This is a performance with characters perfectly rendered in a farce style who nonetheless do not lose their tragic format. The satirical stigmatization of some of their features runs parallel to the comic elements which give the play an entertaining character.
Keywords: infidelity, crisis, breakup, child suffering, dualism of existence, tragifarce, satire
Mieczysław Janicki: My Memories of Romek (Romuald Lipko 1950-2020) / 157
A recollection dedicated to the outstanding Polish composer and multi-instrumentalist, Romuald Lipko, who passed away on February 6, 2020. The author – Lipko’s friend from the music school – goes back in time to their childhood and early youth, talking about shared experiences, citing anecdotes from their school life and describing the beginnings of Lipko’s fascination with rock music. He also recalls his very last meetings with the founder of Budka Suflera band during their recent class reunions and the solemn and ceremonious funeral service of a friend who was buried at the historic cemetery at Lipowa street in his hometown of Lublin.
Keywords: Romuald Lipko, Budka Suflera, memories, Lublin, rock music
AT THE VERNISSAGE
Eliza Leszczyńska-Pieniak: Zofia de Ines – A Multiple Portrait / 161
An overview of the exhibition of costumes as well as stage and costume designs of an outstanding theater artist – Zofia de Ines. The exhibition was on display at the Center for the Meeting of Cultures in Lublin as part of the 4th edition of the Festival of Set and Costume Design. Małgorzata Płoskoń was its curator. Zofia de Ines debuted in 1975 with costumes for Tadeusz Różewicz’s Białe małżeństwo (White Marriage) directed by Kazimierz Braun. She collaborated with some outstanding Polish directors: Jerzy Jarocki, Adam Hanuszkiewicz, Leszek Mądzik and Henryk Tomaszewski. She was also the author of the fashion shows in the form of staged performances in which she drew attention to the relationship between theatrical costume and fashion.
Keywords: Zofia de Ines, theater, stage design, theater costume, fashion
Marek Danielkiewicz: When I Feel Worse, I Drive my Porsche, or Songs about Strong Women and Weak Men (essay) / 166
Leszek Mądzik: Window (essay) / 169
Piotr Biłos: Lublin – Paris – Lublin: Lifestyles, the Curiosity of the World and the Thirst for Values / 170
Kinga Wyskiel: Avant-garde 2.0. The Artistic Activity of Piotr Szreniawski – Remix Aesthetics / 174
Information on the well-known creators of culture, as well as the most interesting events, publications and artistic activities from the past few months.
Notes about the authors / 177