A unique publishing series at the Miłosz Festival

Simon Armitage, Saleh Diab, Ferida Duraković, Hans Magnus Enzensberger, Elena Fanailova and Denise Riley are some of the most important names in the world of contemporary poetry, who will all attend the 8th edition of the Miłosz Festival in Krakow. The poets mentioned above have one more thing in common: volumes of their poetry will be published for the first time in Polish translation, especially on the occasion of the festival. From 6 June they will be available in the bookshop in the Festival Centre, Księgarnia Młoda in the Szołayski Townhouse (Plac Szczepański 9), in the partner bookshops of the festival and in good bookshops throughout the country.

“The Seizure of power”, the motto of this year’s Miłosz Festival, refers to the struggle for a narrative describing the world, creating a framework for understanding its phenomena. Poetry civilises the struggle for symbolic power over language. By expanding it, it makes culture rich and changing. An important role in this process is played by intercultural communication – including literary translation, as Krzysztof Siwczyk, Artistic Director of the Milosz Festival, argues: “We are going to have poets from all linguistic and cultural areas coming to the footsteps of Wawel Hill. They will participate in meetings with the audience during individual and group presentations, and translations of their books will be disseminated among the Polish audience. The brand of the Miłosz Festival makes these books a material and a lasting component that enriches the national culture”. What festival publications have the organisers prepared this year in cooperation with publishers?

Mało brakowało [Close Call] is a collection of selected poems by probably the most popular British contemporary poet, Simon Armitage, which will be published in a translation by Jacek Gutorow and Jerzy Jarniewicz by Wrocław-based Wydawnictwo J. publishing house. “Armitage’s poetry reveals the strangeness of everyday life, its wonder and horror, using melodic, clear, sometimes abbreviated language”, wrote Julia Fiedorczuk about the volume.

Lokator Publishing House will publish a volume of poetry by Saleh Diab: Odległy dzień [A Distant Day] will be at the fingertips of Polish readers thanks to the translation from French by Agata Kozak. Born in Aleppo and living in France, Diab is one of the most famous names in Syrian poetry. His work is open to the influence of the great tradition of French poetry, including that of Arthur Rimbaud.

The most famous volume of poems from Sarajevo by Ferida Duraković is titled Serce ciemności [Heart of Darkness]. Its premiere, translated into Polish by Magdalena Koch , will take place during the 8th edition of the Miłosz Festival in cooperation with Pogranicze Publishing House. The siege of Sarajevo and the images of armed conflict, the feminist message about the position of a woman in the insensitive gears of the war machine – her poems and essays materialise what many of her compatriots would rather forget. However, historical darkness brightens on the horizon of this work.

This unique publishing project will also feature the premiere translation of Elena Fanailova’s poetry. Poems by the Russian poet, selected and translated by Leszek Szaruga will be published by the Mikołów Institute under the title Szybki numerek w hotelu Europa [A quickie at the Europa Hotel]]. It is a narrative poetry, aggressive and exposing the mechanisms of social life, in which Fanailova spins out stories with branching out meanings. Often referring to autobiographical motifs, the poet makes the reader of her work feel like a nosy peeping Tom peering at someone else’s life.

“The tender rebus that Riley and Jarniewicz give us to solve consists of expressions of regret and anger, expressions of disagreement and resignation, and many expressions of love. All of them together and not at all cannot stand each other. Rather, they reflect in each other, and their reflections are carefully observed by whoever reads them”, writes Barbara Klicka about Denise Riley’s volume. The poet’s works, related to the English experimental poetry trend inspired by feminist thought and contemporary philosophy of language, will be brought closer to Polish readers by Jerzy Jarniewicz’s translation. A selection of poems by Denise Riley entitled Szantung [Shantung] will be published by House of Literature in Łódź.

Among the authors of the announced volumes there is also one who will not be present in Krakow this time, but whose work returns many times during the annual discussions and meetings during the June poetry days. Spotkanie innego rodzaju [A Meeting of a Different Kind], a new selection of poems by Hans Magnus Enzensberger – because that is who we are talking about – is both an attempt to remind those who have already come into contact with his work and to present it to the new generation of readers. The selection and translation of poems by the German classicist was made by Ryszard Krynicki, who will talk at the festival about the preparation of the premiere volume under the banner of a5 Publishing House.

In a month’s time, a joint book of works by women poets who have accepted the invitation to the Miłosz Festival will also be published. Emotional and humorous poetry by Svetlana Cârstean translated from Romanian by Joanna Kornaś-Warwas and the angry and sorrowful work of Athena Farrokhzad translated from Swedish by Justyna Czechowska will meet in the volume Trado edited by Marta Eloy Cichocka. The book will be published by Lokator Publishing House.

The Miłosz Festival is also a hospitable place for book premieres, so today we invite you to promote the latest volume of Ewa Lipska’s Miłość w trybie awaryjnym [Love in Emergency Mode], a meeting devoted to the collection W cieniu totalitaryzmów [In the Shadow of Totalitarianisms] by Czesław Miłosz (both books published by Wydawnictwo Literackie), a reading of Moja dzika koza. Antologia poetek jidysz [My Wild Goat: Yiddish Poets’ Anthology] (Wydawnictwo Austeria), the presentation of Paulina Pidzik’s debut volume (KONTENT Foundation), and the premiere of Kholoud Charaf’s book Odwrócone niebo [Reversed Sky] (Wydawnictwo Znak), which is a result of the international ICORN programme for refugee writers.