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Kopenhaga


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KOPENHAGA
Grzegorz Wróblewski
from Polish by Piotr Gwiazda
Poetry
ISBN 978-1-938890-00-0 (paper) $15
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6 x 8
176 pages [Bilingual Polish/English]

“Grim, glancingly beautiful, always necessary.”
—Joshua Clover

“One of the most important books of our time: these are at once unsettling and comforting, timely and wryly moving poems about the laughable annoyances, limited joys, and the never fully present sorrows of cosmopolitanism, the life of the citizens of the world.”
—Gabriel Gudding

“Wróblewski is the true poetic chronicler of our 21st century diaspora in all its absurdities and anxieties … Kopenhaga is a journey to the end of the night that always makes a U-turn in the middle, to take in the latest folly—and also self-rescue mission—of the transplant. Read it and weep—and then laugh!”
—Marjorie Perloff

Kopenhaga is the first comprehensive collection of prose poetry by Grzegorz Wróblewski, one of Poland’s leading contemporary writers. The book offers a series of vignettes from the crossroads of politics and culture, technology and ethics, consumerism and spirituality. It combines two tropes: the emigrant’s double identity and the ethnographer’s search for patterns. While ostensibly focused on Denmark, it functions as an investigation of alterity in the post-cold war era of ethnic strife and global capitalism. Whether he writes about refugees in Copenhagen (one of Europe’s major transnational cities), or the homeless, or the mentally ill, or any other marginalized group, Wróblewski points to the moral contradictions of a world supposedly without borders.

Grzegorz Wróblewski, born in 1962 in Gdańsk and raised in Warsaw, has been living in Copenhagen since 1985. He has published ten volumes of poetry and three collections of short prose pieces in Poland; three books of poetry, a book of poetic prose and an experimental novel in Denmark; a book of selected poems in Bosnia-Herzegovina; and a selection of plays. His work has been translated into fifteen languages. His poems in English translation appear in many journals, anthologies, and chapbooks, as well as in two collections Our Flying Objects (Equipage Press, 2007) and A Marzipan Factory (Otoliths, 2010).

Piotr Gwiazda has published two books of poetry, Messages (Pond Road Press, 2012) and Gagarin Street (Washington Writers’ Publishing House, 2005). He is also the author of James Merrill and W.H. Auden: Homosexuality and Poetic Influence (Palgrave Macmillan, 2007). He is an Associate Professor of English at the University of Maryland Baltimore County (UMBC).

The Forgotten Keys


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THE FORGOTTEN KEYS
Tomasz Różycki
from Polish by Mira Rosenthal
Poetry
ISBN 0-939010-92-5 (paper) $14.95
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6 x 8
128 pages [bilingual Polish/English]

“Personal” for Różycki means also transpersonal; the persona of his poetry holds the memory of an entire family or tribe, or perhaps even of society in general. And there's no mockery here. Różycki's poetry is serious, a private response to the historic moment. Without a doubt, a vital new poet has emerged from the Polish language.
—Adam Zagajewski

Tomasz Różycki belongs to a group of outstanding younger poets from Silesia, a region in Poland that bears the mark of a distinct mixture of cultures. Many families were relocated to the region in a forced migration after World War II, and shifting borders have likewise added influences from Germany and other neighboring countries. Through translations of a selection of poems from Różycki's five collections of poetry in Polish, as well as a critical introduction, The Forgotten Keys acquaints readers with a distinctive and formidable Polish writer. Unlike other contemporary Polish poets who clearly reject the heavy historicism of Czesław Miłosz and Zbigniew Herbert, Różycki claims such influence, exploring both personal and collective memory. Zephyr Press has also published his Colonies.

The translator Mira Rosenthal is a poet and founding editor of Lyric Poetry Review. She has been a Fulbright Fellow to Poland and selected and edited a special issue of Lyric on new Polish poetry in translation. Her work has appeared in the journals Ploughshares, American Poetry Review, and Notre Dame Review, among others.

Door Languages


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DOOR LANGUAGES
Zafer Şenocak
from German by Elizabeth Oehlkers Wright
Poetry
ISBN 978-0-939010-78-3 (paper) $15.00
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6 x 8
148 pages [bilingual German/English]

Door Languages, in Elizabeth Oehlkers Wright's brilliant translation, sends us news of the stranger within us who keeps putting on and taking off a cloak of invisibility. This is bracing work. Line by insinuating line, Zafer Şenocak peels back our most rigid assumptions. These poems, marked by the highest ambition, read like folk tales from the future.
—Lee Upton, author of Undid in the Land of Undone

… a fine edgy satisfyingly demystifying voice.
—Askold Melnyczuk

from Door Languages I

Doors don't say much to those who disclose nothing
once the inhabitants of a city that no longer exists
introduced a door language
Closed
Open
Left ajar
With or without latch
Locked
Pick-locked
in different colors
each door had its own meaning
that was long ago

today it doesn't rest so much on the door
but on the keys
on the one whose hand holds the keys
at the moment of arrival

who can find the patience to learn a new door language
there are more languages than people
the keys are in the pocket
the code in the mind

if necessary the door is kicked open

Born in Ankara in 1961, Zafer Şenocak moved to Munich with his parents in 1970 where he studied political science, philosophy, and literature. He started publishing books of poetry and essays in the nineteen eighties in Munich winning the Adelbert von Chamisso Award, a literary prize given in Germany for foreigners writing in German. In addition to poetry and fiction, he has a substantial body of work as an essayist of political and social criticism, largely stemming from his years as a contributor to the Berlin alternative daily newspaper die tagezeitung.

Elizabeth Oehlkers Wright's translations of contemporary German poets have appeared in various journals and anthologies. She has received a number of honors, including an NEA fellowship to translate the work of Zafer Şenocak. She served as the German-language contributing editor for the 2008 Graywolf anthology New European Poets and with Franz Wright co-translated the book Factory of Tears by Valzhyna Mort.

Peregrinary


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PEREGRINARY
Eugeniusz Tkaczyszyn-Dycki
from Polish by Bill Johnston
Poetry
ISBN 978-0-939010-97-4 (paper) $14.95
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6 x 8
148 pages [bilingual Polish/English]

Eugeniusz Tkaczyszyn-Dycki is an unusual poet in both the context of his native Poland and that of world literature. Though his poems contain numerous literary and cultural references, he is not an “esthetic” poet like, say, Zbigniew Herbert or Adam Zagajewski. Though Dycki's poems are intensely personal, they are not so in the obvious sense that one finds in the poetry of Czesław Miłosz or Wisława Szymborska. And though Dycki's writing is firmly rooted in historical context, this dimension too is recast in a way not found in other Polish poets either of his own or preceding generations.

from Ad Benevolum Lectorem

2.
do not let yourself be caught
in the snare I set for you
from the very first poem
I was thinking how to swallow you

and the thought gave me wings
and gives me wings still
so stop yourself from going mad
and send me away while you still have

the strength because in tangling with me
you are certain to lose in tangling
with me you'll come out a bigger
fool than the author of this book

Eugeniusz Tkaczyszyn-Dycki was born in 1962 in southeastern Poland close to the Ukrainian border. Author of nine collections of poetry, he has won numerous literary prizes both in Poland and elsewhere, including the prestigious Kazimiera Iakowiczówna Prize, the Barbara Sadowska Prize, and Germany's Hubert Burda Prize. His work has previously appeared in various English-language journals as well as in the Zephyr Press anthology Carnivorous Boy Carnivorous Bird. Peregrinary is his first book-length publication in English.

Bill Johnston has held translation fellowships from the National Endowment for the Arts and the National Endowment for the Humanities; in 2005 he won the translation award of AATSEEL for his rendering of Magdalena Tulli's prose poem Dreams and Stones. He teaches literary translation at Indiana University, where he is also director of the Polish Studies Center.

Black Square


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BLACK SQUARE
Tadeusz Dąbrowski
from Polish by Antonia Lloyd-Jones
Poetry
ISBN 978-0-9815521-6-3 (paper) $15.00
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6 x 8
120 pages [Bilingual Polish/English]

Restlessly inventive, sharp-witted, and intent on raising mischief, the poems in Black Square are so much fun to read, it’s almost easy to overlook how deeply serious they are—and how dark. Dąbrowski is part life of the party, part heavy-hearted metaphysician, and he plays his two sides off each other like an expert comedy team with a knack for aphorism and philosophical speculation. “Nothing would be bearable if I weren’t/ endlessly somebody else,” he writes, embracing the ever-changing nature of identity—and leaving us thankful he remained himself long enough to complete this brilliant, unforgettable book.
— Timothy Donnelly

Tadeusz Dąbrowski is writing his self-portrait of the artist as a young man. Love, faith and doubt fill its pages. The first chapters of this work in progress are promising, we’ll be looking forward to the se
— Adam Zagajewski

It is hard to define Dąbrowski’s poetry with utter certainty, to say whether its subject has or has not reconciled himself with God—whose authority is never put in question—or what his moral choices are. This is a poetry that complicates matters, that refuses to provide answers, that constructs small treatises in completely unpredictable places—an existence en brut, always becoming, always variable and resistant to definition. This is a poetry that smelts its inheritance into something new, modern, and original, something dynamic, paradoxical, constantly in motion, a poetry that is engaged with today’s world in so many of its manifestations, leaping from theme to theme—art, travel, sex, love (presented in all its succulence, no doubt, and with complete candor, as if this most fragile of human affairs was the only constant in life), computers, camera lenses, Europe, America, quotations from philosophers, and rock lyrics—in its ambitious gambit to comprehend a world that remains elusive and undescribed.
—from the Introduction by Tomasz Różycki

Tadeusz Dąbrowski was born in northern Poland in 1979. From his first volume, published in 1999, he has been critically acclaimed for poetry that combines a tone of metaphysical meditation with the theme of love. His poems are like snapshots taken by a sensitive camera that captures moments filled with the “caring absence” of God and intimacy with the woman the poet loves. Here we find gravity laced with humor and sublimity mixed with pleasure. So far Dabrowski has published five volumes of poetry in his native Poland, which have won him numerous awards. His work has appeared in translation in thirteen European languages. English translations of his poems by Antonia Lloyd-Jones have been published in several leading literary journals, including Agni, American Poetry Review, and Tin House. Black Square is his first collection to be published in English.

Antonia Lloyd-Jones is a translator of Polish literature. In 2008 she won the Found in Translation Award for her translation of The Last Supper, a novel by Pawel Huelle. Her other translations of fiction include works by Jaroslaw Iwaszkiewicz and Olga Tokarczuk. Her translations of poetry by Jacek Dehnel appeared in a recent anthology, Six Polish Poets, published by Arc Publications.

Lightwall


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LIGHTWALL
Liliana Ursu
from Romanian by Sean Cotter
Poetry
ISBN 0-9815521-2-9 (paper) $15.00
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6 x 8
152 pages [Bilingual Romanian/English]

  • Finalist for the PEN USA 2010 Literary Award in Translation.
  • Finalist for Three Percent’s 2010 “Best Translated Book Award/Poetry” award.
  • Winner of the 2009 PEN Southwest Book Award for Translation/ PEN Judge's Comments
  • Listen to poet and translator.

Romanian Liliana Ursu writes poetry that is wild and unpredictable, on the brink of flying away beyond real and imagined borders. Her short poems are stunning, unforgettable, and expertly translated into exciting English texts by Sean Cotter…. This is one of those books by a European poet that an English reader can pick up and wonder at how the translator did it. We also read in awe as Ursu leads every naïve person by the nose and jumps into the abyss.
—Ray Gonzalez, Bloomsbury Review

Lightwall takes its title from the angled casements built to reflect sunlight into basement apartments in Bucharest—an image that echoes Ursu’s ability to shed new light on both the unfamiliar and the mundane. This collection deals extensively with the subjects of home, language, and meaning, and explores Romania’s new relationship with both Europe and the United States in the post-Communist era. One section is filled with inspiration from her time at Bucknell University, which complements another section on “the spiritual trials of the Balkans.” The middle section contains a lengthy cycle focused on the sufferings of Ovid, along with poems about the pains of people unable to travel due to economic reasons.

For more information about Ursu see her collection Goldsmith Market, also published by Zephyr Press.

Goldsmith Market


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GOLDSMITH MARKET
Liliana Ursu
from Romanian by Sean Cotter
Poetry
ISBN 0-939010-79-8 (paper) $16.95
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5¼ x 8
208 pages [Bilingual Romanian/English]

These poems are luminous, numinous, they have the power to change The Black Sea with a splash of a palm into a spring. Liliana Ursu is a dancer, an archeologist of light. How she makes The Black Sea again, how she expands the places of myth is beyond grasping: your skin, your mind, your heart rejoice. Gracious, hard-edged, generous and moving.
—Tomaž Šalamun

Liliana Ursu's poems are like flowers at the edge of the abyss. They are beautifully clear and precise, but behind them one glimpses the presence of an ineradicable dark.
—Mark Strand

Ursu's book focuses on a place that is at once a literary crossroads and at the same time isolated in the Carpathian mountains. The eighty poems that make up the three sections of Goldsmith Market are all marked with the longing for travel. The first section, unnamed, presents a series of portraits and scenes, from Nobel Prize winners to busboys, all uneasy in their present place. “False Landscapes,” the second section, explores the images of the Mediterranean we receive through writers such as Sappho and Cavafy, and shows us how isolated we are from the actual places by the mythology surrounding Carthage, Lesbos, and Alexandria. In the third section, “Goldsmith Market,” Ursu follows the connections between Sibiu's history as a meeting place for poets and its contemporary location, with the same attention to distance and longing. The three sections are united by Ursu's interest in precise, provocative portraiture.

#5 Mint Street

In Alexandria a red cat
in the window of a sick poet
and books sadder than the sea under fog.

Wild dogs bark in his brain
At another window, the bourgeois dine
clinking glasses, white bones on china plates
whiter than the bones of a drowned man...

On a blue chair a flickering candle
All that remains after paying his creditors here
and in Hell.
No one whispers his name.
There is no one.

In Alexandria a red cat
in the window of a sick poet…

 

Song for the Spice Seller

Under the withered cherry tree
the spice seller counts the days
he has remaining.
Dried peppers, clove, cinnamon
amber, myrrh, the untamed musk rose.
Only the barren clink of gold keeps him warm.

“Let's put cherries, cool cherries over his ears
just for him” whisper virgins of Egina.
He who long ago stopped seeing
he who long ago stopped hearing.
Only the barren clink of gold keeps him warm.

Romanian poet Liliana Ursu was born in 1949. She was a Fulbright fellow at Pennsylvania State University in 1992 and 1997. Goldsmith Market is Liliana Ursu's third book of poetry in Romanian, and her third book to appear in English (after the two anthologies: The Sky behind the Forest [Bloodaxe] and Angel Riding a Beast [Northwestern UP]). It is also the first translation of an entire book as it appeared in Romanian. Three poems have appeared in Sean Cotter's translation in the journal Beacons, and two poems from this book were included in The Sky behind the Forest (“Rain in Sibiu” and “In the Town that Was”), both of which appeared, translated by Ursu, Adam Sorkin, and Tess Gallagher, in The New Yorker.

Sean Cotter Cotter at UT Dallas has translated three books of Romanian poetry. He worked in Romania from 1994 to 1996 as a Peace Corps volunteer, and from 2001 to 2002 on a Fulbright-Hays research grant.

Salt Monody


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SALT MONODY
Marzanna Kielar
from Polish by Elżbieta Wójcik-Leese
Poetry
ISBN 0-939010-86-0 (paper) $14.95
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5¼ x 8
128 pages [bilingual Polish/English]

Marzanna Kielar's systematic investigations of the North (of Poland) resemble concentrated expansions of homelands into the poetic universes of Elizabeth Bishop, Tomas Tranströmer and Eugenio Montale—not surprisingly the authors most important to Kielar. For someone who lists Understanding Glaciers as her favorite non-poetry book, the precise terminology of earth science naturally counterpoints the impressionist re-creation of landscape that occurs time and again in her poems. Stone formations, glacial types, kinds of waves, river shapes—they all have their own, peculiar names: crag, surging glacier, breaker, oxbow. Her recent poems (placed towards the end of this non-chronological selection) frequently take advantage of this peculiarity. The terms testify to the acuteness of Kielar's focus as well as to the persistence of her exploration.

Unlike Zbigniew Herbert and Czeslaw Milosz, Kielar does not comment on Poland's past or present. Like so many other young Polish poets who started to publish after 1989, she no longer needs to: confronting history and the state has finally become an aesthetic choice rather than a poet's moral obligation.

Marzanna Kielar (b.1963, Goldap), a graduate in Philosophy from Warsaw University, works at the College of Special Needs Education in Warsaw and co-operates with the literary magazine Krasnogruda. She has published two collections of poetry and has received the Kazimiera Illakowiczówna Prize for the best debut of the year, and the Kocielski Foundation Prize; she has been nominated for the NIKE Prize.

Elżbieta Wójcik-Leese teaches translation and contemporary literature in English at the Jagiellonian University in Kraków. She co-edits Przekladaniec, a journal of literary translation; her translations of contemporary Polish poets have appeared in numerous journals, and the Zephyr anthology Carnivorous Boy Carnivorous Bird.

Approaching You in English


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APPROACHING YOU IN ENGLISH
Admiel Kosman
from Hebrew by Lisa Katz with Shlomit Naim-Naor
Poetry
ISBN 978-0-9815521-4-9 (trade paper) $15 US/ $17 CAN
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6 x 8
128 pages [bilingual Hebrew/English]

Kosman knows how to craft humor, irony, many of the more refined tones—nothing seems to elude his poetic abilities. But despite Kosman’s exquisite exercises in tone and topics, the reader is drawn in above all because of this mysterious light: a strange sense of communication with something beyond, with something transcendent that is present in nearly all of the poems that make up Approaching You In English… Translator Lisa Katz has done a tremendous job… She has allowed new readers to peer, too, into the cracks and slits in the ceiling and connect with that something beyond.
—E.C. Belli, Words Without Borders

Admiel Kosman's first book to appear in English draws from all nine of his books of poetry that have been published in Hebrew, as well as new, unpublished work. His poems explore multiple tensions — between prayer and modern life, sacred texts and eroticism, language and translation, gender and identity — while also resisting the very nature of such categorizations. Approaching You in English includes an introduction by translator Lisa Katz that quotes extensively from an interview with Kosman, and an afterword by Shlomit Naim-Naor that explores some of the gender issues in his poetry.

In addition to his poetry, Admiel Kosman has published three scholarly volumes on gender and sexuality in traditional Jewish texts. Raised in an Orthodox home, he studied art at the Bezalel Art Academy in Jerusalem, and later received a Ph.D. in Talmud from Bar-Ilan University. He teaches religious and Jewish studies at Potsdam University in Berlin, and serves as academic director of the Abraham Geiger Reform Seminary, the first Reform rabbinical college to open in Germany since the Holocaust.

Lisa Katz is the author of Reconstruction (Am Oved), and the translator of Look There: New and Selected Poems of Agi Mishol (Graywolf). Her poems, translations, essays and reviews have appeared in numerous publications; she works as a translator for the English edition of the Israeli daily, Haaretz. In 2008, she won the Mississippi Review Poetry Prize.

Shlomit Naim-Naor is the deputy director of Melitz, an educational organization in Jerusalem, and an international speaker on Israeli poetry, literature and Jewish texts. She holds an MA in Creative Writing from Ben Gurion University and a BA in Philosophy and Literature from the Hebrew University in Jerusalem. She has written extensively about Kosman's poetry.

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