The austerity of Marzanna Kielar’s mindscape compels with its monochromy. Her poems insistently return to northern Poland cataloguing the sea, fog, wind, lakes, rivers, woods, fields, and crows. “My first homeland is a post-German landscape,” she acknowledges, “with wild rose bushes, stone stables, metal window fittings, red roofs.”
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. When Kielar speaks about her obligation as a poet, she speaks about bringing home what we tend to call reality, love, death. Always aware of the risk involved in naming, she strives to bring out of darkness words and their meanings.
Marzanna Bogumila 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 Koscielski Foundation Prize; she has been nominated for the NIKE Prize.
Elzbieta 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.