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Translated from the Polish by Antonia Lloyd-Jones
Published: Mon Jul 1 2013
Art by Jin Suk
“Why does that particular . . .”

Translated from the Polish by Antonia Lloyd-Jones

 

Why does that particular winter’s afternoon,
since there were hundreds like it, speak out in me:
when racing against the night, which had now begun
to fire up the forest on the horizon, amid snowdrifts
and naked black trees sizzling in the frost,
intent on the mantra of the fishing reel, with sight
suspended on hawthorn fruits collaborating
with the sunset, I feel a tugging, and moments later
I see, above the waters of the silt-choked canal,
a pike exposing its rounded belly like a drunken
baroque harlot on the table in a tavern. Why does
that particular afternoon, when I did not yet know
what the baroque was, let alone a harlot, come back to me
all of a sudden, from behind a thick sheet of ice the color of a fish’s
scales. Under the ice I see myself, but I am not certain.

 

Tadeusz Dąbrowski is a Polish poet, essayist, and critic. Editor of the literary bimonthly Topos, he has been published in many journals in his native country (among others, Tygodnik Powszechny and Polityka) and abroad (including Boston Review and The American Poetry Review). 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). His work has been translated into twenty languages. Dąbrowski is the author of seven volumes of poetry, most recently this year’s Pomiędzy, as well as a collection of poetry in English entitled Black Square (Zephyr Press, 2011). He lives in Gdańsk on the Baltic coast of Poland. (8/2013)

Antonia Lloyd-Jones is a full-time translator of Polish literature. Her published translations of poetry include Black Square by Tadeusz D…browski (Zephyr Press). She has also translated fiction by several of Polande(TM)s leading contemporary novelists, including Pawe’ Huelle. Her most recent publications include Saturn, a novel by Jacek Dehnel (Dedalus), and Kore, a book of essays on medicine and art by Andrzej Szczeklik (Counterpoint). She also translates reportage and books for children. (8/2013)

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)

Antonia Lloyd-Jones translates contemporary Polish fiction, reportage, poetry, essays, and children’s books. Her poetry translations include two collections by Tadeusz Dąbrowski—Black Square (Zephyr Press, 2013) and Posts (Zephyr, forthcoming 2018)—one by Łukasz Jarosz, The Force of Things (Liberodiscrivere, 2015), and many poems by Krystyna Dąbrowska, published in magazines such as *Harper’s *and Ploughshares. (updated 10/2017)
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