Posts featuring Wojciech Bonowicz

Table and Beyond

Conversations about Krystyna Miłobędzka and Wojciech Bonowicz

“Poetry needs experiment, philosophical reflection on its own material, rebellion, seeing itself as a task for readers,” argued Piotr Śliwiński in his 2002 overview of contemporary Polish poetry, Adventures with Freedom. “In other words, it needs Karpowiczs. Especially Polish poetry, dominated over the last two decades by Miłosz and Herbert.” As a translator, I often think of Śliwiński’s diagnosis, particularly when I need to disappoint my interlocutors with the news that I don’t translate Herbert, Miłosz or Szymborska. I don’t have to – they are synonymous with Polish poetry in English. But Karpowicz? How to explain, then, what poetry needs, if this name hardly functions outside Poland? Another challenge: how to present a poet Karpowicz tried to promote, both in the US and in Poland? If only I could say, “Krystyna Miłobędzka is one of the Karpowiczs…”