Feature > Poetry
Jennifer Grotz

Jennifer Grotz

Jennifer Grotz is the author of two books, The Needle (Houghton Mifflin Harcourt, 2011) and Cusp (Mariner Books, 2003). Her poems, reviews, and translations from the French and Polish appear widely in journals such as The Nation, American Poetry Review, New England Review, and Ploughshares as well as in Pushcart and Best American anthologies. She teaches at the University of Rochester and also serves as the assistant director of the Bread Loaf Writers Conference.
Piotr Sommer

Piotr Sommer

Piotr Sommer is a poet and translator into Polish of Anglo-American poetry. His most recent book in English is a selected poems, Continued (Wesleyan, 2005). His influential anthology O Krok od nich (A Step Away From Them) collected and translated New York School poets such as Ashbery, O'Hara and others into Polish. He is the 2013-14 Trias Writer in Residence at William & Hobart Smith and longtime editor of Literatura na Świecie, an international literary journal based in Warsaw.

The World Behind The Door (English Translation)

They come, they go,
the handle nods,
the door sings, wind rushes through.
Adults arrive from the world
whose door has a silver handle,
aunts, uncles, grandmothers come in
bringing their smells,
their other-people voices,
loaded with amazement not their own,
with pockets full of curiosity.
Then they go
behind the door with a silver handle
and get locked away with a key.
And when there's a knock,
that means they come back out of their closet
just behind the door, where the house ends,
where guests and uncles
loiter, say nothing, wait
to be let in,
very still and all of them.
Each on his own hanger.

Za Drzwiami Świat (Original Polish)

Wchodzą, wychodzą,
kiwa się klamka,
śpiewają drzwi, wieje.
Dorośli przybywają ze świata
o drzwiach z klamką srebrną,
przychodzą ciocie, wujkowie, babcie,
przynoszą swoje zapachy,
swoje cudze głosy,
objuczeni zdziwieniem nie swoim,
z kieszeniami pełnymi ciekawości.
Potem odchodzą
za drzwi ze srebrną klamką
i zamyka się ich tam na klucz.
I kiedy zapuka,
to znaczy, że znowu wyjdą ze swojej szafy
tuż za drzwiami, gdzie się kończy dom,
gdzie wujkowie i goście
sterczą, milczą, czekają,
żeby ich wpuścić,
nieruchomi i wszyscy.
Każdy na swoim wieszaku.
Jerzy Ficowski

Jerzy Ficowski

Jerzy Ficowski (1924-2006) was a Polish poet, translator, and songwriter. Born in Warsaw, Ficowski served in the Home Army and took part in the Warsaw Uprising. After the war, he traveled with the Polish Gypsy population and beacme a collector and translator of Roma folk tales and poems. His authoritative and moving biography on Bruno Schulz, Regions of the Great Heresy: Bruno Schulz, A Biographical Portrait, was translated into English and published by Norton in 2003.

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