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Two talks on one of Poland's greatest poets of the 20th century

April 06, 2007

Two talks on one of Poland's greatest poets of the 20th century
Tadeusz Różewicz

Launching the publication by Archipelago Books of New Poems by Tadeusz Rozewicz, translated by Bill Johnston

I cannot imagine what post-war Polish poetry would have looked like without the poems of Tadeusz Rozewicz. We all owe something to him... Wislawa Szymborska.


BILL JOHNSTON: LIFE AND DEATH IN THE GRAY ZONE: TRANSLATING TADEUSZ ROZEWICZ'S RECENT POETRY
TUESDAY, APRIL 10, 2007, 4PM. Columbia University, New York City: 709 Hamilton Hall, corner of College Walk (116 St.) & Amsterdam Ave RSVP to Elsie Martinez, tel. 212 854-3941

The Department of Slavic Languages, the Polish Studies Program at SIPA, and the Center for Literary Translation will host prominent
translator Bill Johnston, who will discuss his philosophy of translation and present his rendition of Tadeusz Rozewicz's "New Poems", published by Archipelago Books.

BILL JOHNSTON, EDWARD HIRSCH, MATTHEW SWENEY:
TRANSLATION FROM EASTERN EUROPE
WEDNESDAY, APRIL 11, 2007, 7 PM
192 Books: 192 Tenth Avenue (at 21st Street), New York, NY

A rare chance to hear the foremost translators of Eastern European literature. Noted poet and critic Edward Hirsch will provide an introduction to the work of the prominent post-war Polish poet Tadeusz Rozewicz, and Bill Johnston will read from his new translation of Tadeusz Rozewicz's New Poems (Archipelago Books, 2007).

Mathew Sweney will read from his translations of the poems of Czech writer Ivan Blatny included in The Passerby: Selected Poems
(forthcoming from Ugly Duckling Presse).

* * *

Tadeusz Rozewicz (b. 1921) started writing poetry while fighting with the resistance against the German occupation in World War II. Rozewicz developed a unique, pared-down style that consciously avoided metaphor and sought a new, painfully clear voice in which to express the horrors of war and the fragility of human existence. Equal to Beckett in his renovation of form, Rozewicz has provided his own answer to the question whether poetry is even possible after Auschwitz, by creating a new type of restrained verse that is known as the fourth versification system in literary Polish, as in Anxiety (1947) and A Red Glove (1948).

Today a poet, playwright and novelist, Rozewicz is unanimously listed as belonging to the Pantheon of the greatest Polish poets of the 20th century, together with Czeslaw Milosz, Zbigniew Herbert, and Wislawa Szymborska, and his dramas are constantly presented by Poland’s best theatres, next to plays by Witold Gombrowicz and Slawomir Mrozek. Rozewicz continues to write and publish new work, and has been translated into many languages.

* * *

Bill Johnston is Director of the Polish Studies Center at Indiana University. His translations include Gustaw Herling's The Noonday Cemetery and Other Stories (New Directions, 2003), Stefan Zeromski’s The Faithful River (Northwestern University Press, 1999), Witold Gombrowicz's Bacacay (Archipelago Books, 2004), and Magdalena Tulli's Dreams and Stones and Moving Parts (Archipelago Books, 2004 and 2005). He has held translation fellowships from both the National Endowment for the Humanities and the National Endowment for the Arts. Johnston's translation of Dreams and Stones won the AATSEEL Translation Award in 2005.

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