Poetry
Krzysztof Karasek
The Hills of Anarchy

Avant-garde discourse combined with classical order and lyricism

Manifesto

I saw the flowers of a face abloom
in the branches of an old age, whole bouquets of the face
passing by via the arcade of memory. They appeared
for a moment, for a split second, and walked on through me
in long processions from childhood
till youth, rushing,
or stopped in admiration, in awe.
Paused for a moment of terror
or anger. Ah, to absorb them completely
to grasp beauty. Absorb through eyes
or mouth, like the Host,
before the mind begins its futile work.
With a single glance
embrace it all, and not wake up
for sleep, but for their brilliance.

2019

 

Kuferlin

In memory of Janusz Jęczmyk

The bread we fed on must have been mad.
Someone ate it with confidence at first, then jumped up,
shattered on the bridge and fell like a sack
full of guilt. Others got stuck in the swampy air,
glasses swelling in their hands. We had plenty of bread
and that’s why we slept through all these battles
with our awakening at stake. From whose mouth
did we pull out this delayed deposit,
which the sea ate as well, greedily, as if it knew
that a fast will come quickly, and the earth,
is it still fit for the shovel?

June 2, 2012

 

On the Edge

I have learned to live on the edge,
on the edge between the invisible
and the visible.
I touch objects
but they don‘t belong to me anymore.
It’s me who belongs to them.
Like a blind man I grope
their visible and invisible shapes.
I don’t know if I am a cloud
floating by underfoot, or the ground
that tramples the cloud.
Life passes like a mad cloud
that feeds on rain.
I know that one day
I’ll hide under the bed
and cry.

October 23, 2016

 

Translated by Piotr Florczyk

Poetry
Krzysztof Karasek
The Hills of Anarchy

Avant-garde discourse combined with classical order and lyricism

Publisher: Instytut Mikołowski im. Rafała Wojaczka, Mikołów 2020
Translation rights: Krzysztof Karasek, contact via office@bookinstitute.pl
Foreign language translations: Karasek’s poetry collections have been published in Italy and Romania. His poems have also been translated into Dutch, English, French, German, Hungarian, Portuguese, and Spanish and published in anthologies.

Krzysztof Karasek is one of the most preeminent figures in Poland’s New Wave generation. He is a poet with a solid classical foundation, but does not fit comfortably into the pigeonholes commonly assigned by contemporary critics. One might even argue that Karasek’s work is about the perpetual pursuit of a more voluminous form – a search for answers; a difficult and traumatic quest in defence of a metaphysical fortress.

Wzgórza anarchii [The Hills of Anarchy] combines avant-garde discourse with classical order and lyricism, romantic visionary imagination with prosaic descriptions of the quotidian. This polyphonic volume cannot be summed up in a single, neat formula: it is the anarchism of the heart permeating the hunger of a “monk in exile.”

But is the titular not a subversive antithesis of the book’s contents? In the edifice of his thoughts and experiences, the poet works to lend order to his own world. Karasek places a particular emphasis on perfecting his personal perception of poetics. He poses questions that (one would assume) are better left unasked. Musings on the workings of syntax in the wake of avant-garde experiments, the art of the narrative, and genealogical reflections on the pearlike shape of the sonnet all come together to form Karasek’s intellectual order, as do the bawdy wishes he says to his daughter on her wedding day.

Despite its subversive title, Wzgórza anarchii is an orderly plain of tidily arranged thoughts comprising reflections borrowed from intellectuals hailing from a broad range of eras and fields: from philosophers and painters to poets, composers, and singers. In this new collection of poems, rich with judicious classicism, the spiritual companions to Krzysztof Karasek’s lofty experiences meet, clash, and complement one another, vying for the poet’s attention as he speaks to us, the citizens of the “hills of anarchy,” in the voice of a sage who longs for order.

Stanisław Dłuski

Translated by Arthur Barys

Selected samples

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Aleksandra Lipczak
Jacek Dukaj
Wit Szostak
Bartosz Biedrzycki
Zyta Rudzka
Maciej Płaza
Wojciech Chmielewski
Paweł Huelle
Angelika Kuźniak
Wojciech Kudyba
Michał Protasiuk
Stanisław Rembek
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

69

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

She climbed her first peaks in a headscarf at a time when women in the mountains were treated by climbers as an additional backpack. It was with her that female alpinism began! She gained recognition in a spectacular way. The path was considered a crossing for madmen. Especially since the tragic accident in 1929, preserved … Continue reading “Halina”

Wojciech Chmielarz

First, Marysia, a student of an exclusive private school in Warsaw’s Mokotów district, dies under the wheels of a train. Her teacher, Elżbieta, tries to find out what really happened. She starts a private investigation only soon to perish herself. But her body disappears, and the only people who have seen anything are Gniewomir, a … Continue reading “Wound”

Anna Kańtoch

A young girl, Regina Wieczorek, was found dead on the beach. She was nineteen years old and had no enemies. Fortunately, the culprit was quickly found. At least, that’s what the militia think. Meanwhile, one day in November, Jan Kowalski appears at the police station. He claims to have killed not only Regina but also … Continue reading “Penance”

Marek Krajewski

The year is 1922. A dangerous time of breakthrough. In the Eastern Borderlands of the Republic of Poland, Bolshevik gangs sow terror, leaving behind the corpses of men and disgraced women. A ruthless secret intelligence race takes place between the Lviv-Warsaw-Free City of Gdańsk line. Lviv investigator Edward Popielski, called Łysy (“Hairless”), receives an offer … Continue reading “A Girl with Four Fingers”

Ks. Tomasz Stępień

This question is closely related to the next one, namely: if any goal exists, does life lead us to that goal in an orderly manner? In other words, is everything that happens to us just a set of chaotic events that, combined together, do not form a whole? To understand how the concept of providence … Continue reading “Order and Love”

Jakub Małecki
Szczepan Twardoch
Wiesław Helak
Maria Wilczek-Krupa
Anna Kańtoch
Rafał Kosik
Paweł Sołtys
Dorota Masłowska
Wiesław Myśliwski
Martyna Bunda
Olga Tokarczuk
Various authors
Mariola Kruszewska
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
Józef Łobodowski

The work of Józef Łobodowski (1909-1988) – a remarkable poet, prose writer, and translator, who spent most of his life in exile – is slowly being revived in Poland. Łobodowski’s brilliant three- volume novel, composed on an epic scale, concerns the fate of families and orphans unmoored by the Bolshevik Revolution and civil war and … Continue reading “Ukrainian Trilogy: Thickets, The Settlement, The Way Back”

Piotr Zaremba
Wacław Holewiński
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