Marzanna Bogumiła Kielar

Are we drifting or navigating?

Luminous dawns of death,
once people were dying at home. There was time to get used to dying, work on it a little, starting early
with something small: back ache or strained tendon.

Bit by bit the body’s untying itself from life.
Looking around as if it paused at the border
and asked, ‘Which of the two countries claims this soil?’

It has time still before it’s shouldered by the colossal
dead wave

of unsheltered night.

Before dawns come, without brightness,
in the silence of the desolate world, neither islands nor shallows, and the solitude
is already complete

Exercises in Non-existence
Fog was approaching in waves, once thin, then dense
again, till it cut visibility off, erased us too. The garden departed

for hours.

Fog closed the door to reality.

The haze is thinning now, it reveals smoothed foothills,

a small town. Stumps of perennials unearthed,
in a long row
by the fence of coated planks.
Grey-winged birds wheel, calling

over the boggy sarcophagus of this autumn day,

brimful of leaf litter, slippery stems of dahlias and sunflowers.

They return: roads cut short, houses with smooth walls,
no cornices
or details, roofs blown off like hats.

Dreams exhumed.
And we return – we are here where we are,
in the infinite now

Not comforting this
metaphor of the woods, where everything alive
– being born –
comes out onto the clearings of days.

And returns to the woods when it dies,
for ever written down.

Generations of people, swarms of green lacewings,

a lame dog. The almond white of our finite hours
and turns into desert.

Someone whom we love steps in between
petrified trunks.
into the night with no wings.

Into the scree of dark shine

Translated by Elżbieta Wójcik-Leese

Marzanna Bogumiła Kielar

Are we drifting or navigating?

Publisher: Znak Publishers, Kraków 2018
Translation rights: Znak Publishers, bolinska@znak.com.pl

Marzanna Bogumiła Kielar’s Navigations is poetry of exquisite subtlety. The collection rethinks and reimagines the well-established topos of life as a voyage, evoked by its title. Immersed in philosophical and literary traditions, the poems pose numerous questions and attempt to answer them with raw honesty. Are we drifting or navigating? Can we resist the winds dispatched by the immobile mover (*** The wind turned…)? Is the juxtaposition of passivity and endeavour unequivocal? As Kielar suggests, attentiveness, distancing, contemplation of human existence – not that different from the life of plants and animals, matter itself – are the endeavour, too. They may well prove most meaningful. The goal is to read patiently the voices of the world, transforming from code to story.

Kielar employs her characteristically intellectual language: exact and imagistic. Like her masters, old Japanese painters studying a branch of a plum tree (May Frost) or the 19th-century Polish painter Aleksander Gierymski recording stone pines around Villa Borghese (Jan Cybis and Gierymski’s Painting), the poet wants to touch with her words the essence of reality. Navigations converses with the poetry of Czesław Miłosz and the Polish Romantics: Adam Mickiewicz’s Lausanne lyrics or Juliusz Słowacki’s poems, where landscape mirrors the onlooker’s emotions.

In the thirty-eight texts of her precisely composed volume, Kielar explores the borderland between I and not-I. The poems, focused on transience as part of permanence, death as part of living in the incessant cycles of dark matter, emerge from private loss and teach difficult non-trepidation (*** I am taught by granulation…). Kielar’s writing foregrounds the relationship between the primary fear of mortal beings and their delight in the momentary. The speaker’s discretion in signalling private mourning in order to render it universal is particularly moving because of the book’s dedication: For my daughter Paula.

Anna Spólna, translated by Elżbieta Wójcik-Leese

Selected samples

Marcin Pilis
Tomasz Różycki
Miłosz Biedrzycki
Roman Honet
Anna Piwkowska
Jarosław Jakubowski
Anna Goc
Wiesław Myśliwski
Zdzisław Kranodębski
Wisława Szymborska
Anna Kańtoch
Wojtek Wawszczyk, Tomasz Leśniak
Aleksandra Majdzińska
歐菈·沃丹斯卡-波欽斯卡(Ola Woldańska-Płocińska)
Elżbieta Cherezińska
Jakub Nowak
Maciej Hen
作者:沃伊切赫·維德瓦克(Wojciech Widłak), 插圖:亞歷珊德拉·克珊諾夫斯卡(Aleksandra Krzanowska)
文字:莫妮卡·烏特尼-斯特魯加瓦(Monika Utnik-Strugała), 概念和插圖:皮歐特·索哈(Piotr Socha)
作者:亞格涅絲卡·斯特爾馬什克(Agnieszka Stelmaszyk)
尤安娜·日斯卡(Joanna Rzyska)、阿嘉妲·杜德克(Agata Dudek)、瑪格熱妲·諾瓦克(Małgorzata Nowak) Druganoga出版社,華沙2021
艾麗莎·皮歐特夫斯卡(Eliza Piotrowska)
米科瓦伊·帕辛斯基(Mikołaj Pasiński)、瑪格熱妲·赫爾巴(Gosia Herba)
歐菈·沃丹斯卡-波欽斯卡(Ola Woldańska-Płocińska)
瑪麗安娜·奧克雷亞克(Marianna Oklejak)
拉法爾·科希克(Rafał Kosik)
亞歷珊德拉·沃丹斯卡-波欽斯卡(Aleksandra Woldańska-Płocińska)
巴托米耶·伊格納邱克(Bartłomiej Ignaciuk), 阿嘉塔·洛特-伊格納邱克(Agata Loth-Ignaciuk)
文字和插圖:皮歐特·卡爾斯基(Piotr Karski)
文字和插圖:皮歐特·卡爾斯基(Piotr Karski)
羅珊娜·延澤耶夫斯卡-弗魯貝爾 (Roksana Jędrzejewska-Wróbel)
作者:普舎米斯瓦夫·維赫特洛維奇(Przemysław Wechterowicz) 插圖:艾米莉·吉烏巴克(Emilia Dziubak)
尤斯提娜·貝納雷(Justyna Bednarek) 插圖:丹尼爾·德拉圖爾(Daniel De Latour)
尤安娜·巴托西克(Joanna Bartosik)
瑪格熱妲·斯文多夫斯卡(Małgorzata Swędrowska)、尤安娜·巴托西克(Joanna Bartosik)
Jan Kochanowski
Jarosław Marek Rymkiewicz
Olga Tokarczuk
Władysław Stanisław Reymont
An Ancient Tale
Stanisław Rembek
Elżbieta Cherezińska
Henryk Sienkiewicz
Maria Dąbrowska
Stefan Żeromski
Bronisław Wildstein
Zbigniew Herbert / Wisława Szymborska
Karol Wojtyła
Wiesław Myśliwski
Czesław Miłosz
Anna Świrszczyńska / Melchior Wańkowicz
Tadeusz Borowski / Gustaw Herling-Grudziński
Wiesław Helak
Góra Tabor
Adriana Szymańska
Paweł Rzewuski
Mariusz Staniszewski
Radek Rak
Urszula Honek
Kazimierz Orłoś
Rafał Wojasiński
Antonina Grzegorzewska
Józef Mackiewicz
Tobiasz Piątkowski, Marek Oleksicki
Daniel Odija
Bronisław Wildstein
Józef Mackiewicz
Józef Mackiewicz
Witold Szabłowski
Andrzej Muszyński
Wiesław Helak
Bartosz Jastrzębski
Dariusz Sośnicki
Łukasz Orbitowski
Jakub Małecki
אנדז'יי ספקובסקי
Elżbieta Cherezińska
Wiesław Myśliwski
Jakub Małecki
Aleksandra Lipczak
Jacek Dukaj
Wit Szostak
Bartosz Biedrzycki
Zyta Rudzka
Maciej Płaza
Wojciech Chmielewski
Paweł Huelle
Przemysław "Trust" Truściński
Angelika Kuźniak
Wojciech Kudyba
Michał Protasiuk
Stanisław Rembek
Krzysztof Karasek
Elżbieta Isakiewicz
Artur Daniel Liskowacki
Jarosław Jakubowski
Zbigniew Stawrowski
Szczepan Twardoch
Wojciech Chmielarz
Robert Małecki
Zygmunt Miłoszewski
Anna Piwkowska
Dominika Słowik
Wojciech Chmielewski
Barbara Banaś
Rafał Mikołajczyk
Jerzy Szymik
Waldemar Bawołek
Julia Fiedorczuk
Jakub Szamałek
Witold Szabłowski
Jacek Dukaj
Grzegorz Górny, Janusz Rosikoń
Paweł Piechnik
Andrzej Strumiłło


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Piotr Mitzner
Paweł Sołtys
Wacław Holewiński
Anna Potyra
Wiesław Helak
Urszula Zajączkowska
Marek Stokowski
Hubert Klimko-Dobrzaniecki
Jakub Małecki
Łukasz Orbitowski
Małgorzata Rejmer
Rafał Wojasiński
Wojciech Kudyba
Włodzimierz Bolecki
Jerzy Liebert
Wojciech Zembaty
Wojciech Chmielarz
Bogdan Musiał
Joanna Siedlecka
Krzysztof Tyszka-Drozdowski
Jarosław Marek Rymkiewicz
Marek Bieńczyk
Leszek Elektorowicz
Adrian Sinkowski
Szymon Babuchowski
Lech Majewski
Weronika Murek
Agnieszka Świętek
Stanisław Szukalski
Barbara Klicka
Anna Kamińska

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Szczepan Twardoch
Wiesław Helak
Maria Wilczek-Krupa
Anna Kańtoch
Rafał Kosik
Paweł Sołtys
Dorota Masłowska
Wiesław Myśliwski
Martyna Bunda
Olga Tokarczuk
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Waldemar Bawołek
Marek Oleksicki, Tobiasz Piątkowski
Wojciech Tomczyk
Urszula Zajączkowska
Marzanna Bogumiła Kielar
Ks. Robert Skrzypczak
Bronisław Wildstein
Anna Bikont
Magdalena Grzebałkowska
Wojciech Orliński
Klementyna Suchanow
Andrzej Franaszek
Natalia Budzyńska
Marian Sworzeń
Aleksandra Wójcik, Maciej Zdziarski
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Wacław Holewiński
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