Off_Press: Three Contemporary Polish Poets in Translation

Krzysztof Ciemnołoński, Roman Honet, Joanna Małgorzata Przybylska
Translated from the Polish by Marek Kazmierski

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Marek Kazmierski is the director and founder of OFF_ , a UK-based independent press, promoting contemporary creative writing in English and Polish translations, using multimedia and live events to celebrate reading and storytelling in different languages/genres around the world.

The aims of OFF_ are fivefold;

  • encourage the reading of literature in translation

  • bring writers together around an independent press

  • create a bridge between English and Polish literary worlds

  • publish books and anthologies under the OFF_Press banner

  • use multimedia tools and networks to promote literature worldwide

Krzysztof Ciemnołoński

Krzysztof Ciemnołoński

Krzysztof Ciemnołoński, born 1985 in Warsaw, Poland, is a  DJ, events organiser, music critic, and loves post-punk and psychobilly. He has  published the poetry volumes, płaskostopie (SDK 2003) and przebicia (SDK 2005). A new volume, eskalacje, is currently being readied for publication.  He lives in Zalesie Górne with his wife and son.

ruptures (medley)

and another line deprives access to the sea
we stand on the pier paralysed like all
those stories about a group of friends honouring

the final wish of one dead rolling through countries and bars
cross crossroads with the promise of ashes scattered along the coast
but once there can’t do anything other than turn circles

wandering is an aim in itself (when setting off on a
journey choose the furthest route) something constantly
piercing through out of the background like a wave function
explicitly describing the edges of body
sensitive like slabs dragged onto the surface of union
soon background noise will be betrayed by a new frequency
which will leave it all along with the tide

a may night

these days follow each other like minced
meat every set list revealing the decay

fireflies over the lakes millions of dead souls across
the marshes just the one explosion in the labs
residue in the narrow gullet of the woods blossoming

conflict between the locals and onslaughts of mist
who will cast the first stone who will swallow slime
call near animals who by hearing alone will read

the breakdown of systems as new tribes
won’t come won’t explain themselves

when the noise stops no
one will enter here again

Roman Honet

Roman Honet

Between 1995 and 2008 the poet, Roman Honet, who was born in 1974), was the editor of the bimonthly literary and artistic magazine Studium. His poetry is representative of the trend known as the “emboldened imagination” (a term suggested by Marian  Stala), and he is also known as one of the new existentialists. He teaches creative writing at the School of Literary Arts, Jagiellonian University, Krakow.

on recalling

it is early evening camp fires, aniseed
particles on women’s lips. it is listening to
the whisper of motorways coated in a transparent
film of lights like the preparation of our epoch,
the chill of equalizers made by Diora, Radiotechnika,
Unitra. it was all that. boys
carrying the cobalt seas in their eyes and a spade,
they, who so far back fell under the spell of shadows,
engrossed, and now – look –
immense power expels them out of there,
awakens. costs of living have spiralled,
they say. a year gone by
and it’s all the same. the same void
has, then loses him

beach. christmas

at first, there is a stick thrown high,
motion in slowed sequences like the descent of crushed ore
through oxygen, a thoughtless dream. Bricks
licked with a steaming tongue,
chokeberry. a fairytale – about a bold knight. kites, dark lines
linking them with the hands of children on the beach, an air show
of refuelling blood mid-flight,

(the days are blind and tremble gently,
otokar balcy and alojzy mol)

then another month comes along. a year
different again. snow falling on desolate car parks,
on kings among men weighed down by their gifts:
nectar and a hook – suddenly birds, disturbed, their wings in neon
and thorns. then it’s christmas eve.
head surgery. from shadows

emerge long unseen guests
then fall back into shadows.

my dear departed –
I say – nothing connects us any more

Joanna Małgorzata Przybylska

Joanna Małgorzata Przybylska

Born in Lodz, Poland, in 1984, Joanna Małgorzata Przybylska, studied at the University of Lodz, graduating with degrees in sociology and Polish literature. She has won numerous poetry competitions, and her poems have been published in Arterie, Tygiel Kultury, Cegla and various anthologies. She works in a second-hand bookshop in the Limanka district of Lodz.

tell me babe

I don’t know how to be all alone in my poems,
I invent wicked men for company, never sure what it is
they’re made of, horseradish perhaps? rank, but good for you,
seeing they are particularly harmful and healthy and fit,
which may be why I value their company, without admitting to it.

I unleash hysterics and tell ugly tales about them, slanders
make little impression, they head for their summits unmoved.
I want to tell them apart before they set behind the sun, preserved
in jars, keeping verses alive.

joanna comes to the defence of pansies

yes, it’s because you never thought about the flowers,
across yellow wallpaper they escaped in search
of water. too late, they wilt, shrivel – now you should
glue, but I don’t want a dead wall. let’s let them

leave. yes, it’s because you’ll never understand, blurting:
women, pounding fists against dear departed roses,
until they stick for good, get their teeth into
the plasterboard, and then: you crying again? without me
you’d never blossom. it must have been tough, the laws
of physics broken. I asked; ease off, I’m cracking along

the yellowing wallpaper, won’t fit inside me all of the dead
carnations. yes, it’s because you always took me with a pinch,
without asking you unwrap, knot a lasso, and yet without me
you won’t catch, and again: hold here please.

Links:

Plectrum – The Cultural Pick

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Off_
off-press.org

Krzysztof Ciemnołoński
ciemnolonski.pl

Jagiellonian University, Krakow
www.uj.edu.pl

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