"A vital new poet in the Polish language." Adam Zagajewski
Tomasz Rózycki's sixth book seems like nothing if not an attempt to grapple with Elizabeth Bishop's question, "Should we have stayed at home and thought of here?" But for Rózycki questions of travel and foreignness are never separate from those of historypersonal history, political and national history, the history of things and places and trauma.
"Coffee and Cigarettes"
When I began to write, I didn't know
that poems would transform me, make my skin
translucent, I'd become a weary ghost
who, sleepless, roams the streets as if to ride
a high till coming down, then go to bed
with rabid dawn. But light would find me still
out wandering and dropping in on friends,
flat broke, a louse, a varmint, summoned by
your nakedness or even just your sighing.
And honey, how was I to know what all
these dumb poems would make of me, that you
would summon me to life, and thanks to you
I would become the visible, in bed
beside you, waiting till you fall asleep.
Tomasz Rózycki has published six books of poetry, including The Forgotten Keys, winner of the Koscielski Prize. He has been nominated twice for the Nike Prize, Poland's most important literary award. He lives in his hometown, Opole, with his wife and two children.
Mira Rosenthal has received NEA and Fulbright grants and held fellowships at the MacDowell Colony and the Vermont Studio Center. Her poetry has appeared in journals such as Ploughshares, The American Poetry Review, Slate, and the Notre Dame Review.