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Translated from the Polish by Jennifer Carter-Zielińska
Published: Wed Jul 1 2009
Art by Jin Suk
“This is the first line . . .”

Translated from the Polish by Jennifer Carter-Zielińska

 

This is the first line. This line is meaningless.
And this is the second line, in which you’re no longer yourself,
which means you aren’t the person from the first line,
and now you aren’t even who you were
in lines two and three, and four, and additionally

in five. This poem is life, I do everything
to be myself in every line, so that every line
by some miracle bends back to me, meanwhile you,
whether you want to or not, must live this life and in

the last line, as close to the end as possible,
make the grade, the subject of which will be
you. You’ll only survive if you admit

that the poem spoke of God. The last line will come
however faster
than

 

Tadeusz Dąbrowski (b. 1979) is a Polish poet, essayist, and critic who has won, among other honors, the Hubert Burda Prize (2008) and, from Tadeusz Różewicz, the Prize of the Foundation for Polish Culture (2006). His first collection to appear in English will soon be released by Zephyr Press. He lives in Gdańsk. (5/2009)

Jennifer Carter-Zielińska, an American freelance translator, lives in Sopot, Poland. In addition to numerous commercial and scientific translations, she has published translations of work by Kazimierz Wierzyński_,_ Andrzej Wajda, and Zbigniew Rossa. (5/2009)

Tadeusz Dąbrowski (b. 1979) is a Polish poet, essayist, and critic, editor of the literary bimonthly Topos, art director of the European Poet of Freedom Festival, and author of seven volumes of poetry, most recently Srodek wyrazu (2016). He has been published in many journals in his native country (among others, Tygodnik Powszechny and Polityka). His work has been translated into twenty languages; in English, it has appeared in The New YorkerThe American Poetry ReviewLittle StarGuernicaPoetry DailyBoston ReviewPoetry IrelandAGNI, and Poetry Wales. He is the winner of numerous awards, including the Kościelski Prize (2009), the Hubert Burda Prize (2008), and the Prize of the Foundation for Polish Culture (2006), and was nominated for the NIKE Literary Award (2010). Dąbrowski’s other collections include*: Wypieki(1999), e-mail (2000), *mazurek (2002)Te Deum (2005, 2008), Czarny kwadrat(2009), Pomiędzy (2013), and Schwarzes Quadrat auf schwarzem Grund (2010, 2011), as well as a collection of poetry in English entitled Black Square (Zephyr Press, 2011). He is editor of the anthology* Poza slowa*: Antologia wierszy 1976–2006 (2006). His second collection to be released in the U.S., Posts, is forthcoming from Zephyr Press in 2018. He lives in Gdańsk on the Baltic coast of Poland. (updated 10/2017)

Jennifer Carter-Zielińska, an American freelance translator, lives in Sopot, Poland. In addition to numerous commercial and scientific translations, she has published translations of the poetry of Kazimierz Wierzyński (Poetry Salzburg Review, 2007), Katyn by Andrzej Wajda (Prószynski i S-ka, 2008), and Muse by Zbigniew Rossa (Grafikon, 2008). (updated 5/2009)
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