The praise of travel, life and movement, but also the dilemma of emigration and the drama of escape. These great themes of modernity are close to artists all over the world. From 9 to 12 June, they will stop in their journey and will take part in the 5th Miłosz Festival in Krakow, entitled “Road-side Dog.” See the full program of the Krakow poetry festival – rich in extraordinary conversations, debates, concerts, film screenings and other fascinating encounters with poetry.
While the 5th edition of Miłosz Festival officially begins on June 9, you can start the poetic celebration the day before. Pop in the Museum of the History of Photography on June 8, at 8 pm, for the opening of the exhibition by Zuzanna Ginczanka – a poet called “the female Tuwim”, the star of the bohemian pre-war Warsaw. The exhibition will run until August 14. On the eve of the festival, on June 8 at 8 pm, Stanisław Soyka and Cracow Singers will present a new rendition of Shakespeare’s Sonnets at the Krakow Philharmonic. The concert Shakespeare a Capella will combine the improvised solo jazz performance of Stanislaw Soyka and the classical vocal art by the Cracow Singers. Tickets are available at the box office of Krakow Philharmonic, ul. Zwierzyniecka 1, at 40 zł (reduced) and 50 zł (regular).
All poetic explorers, word hunters and poetry lovers are welcome to join the remarkable festival journey that begins with a Milosz Lecture in the festival centre – the Czapski Pavilion, a branch of the National Museum in Krakow, ul. Piłsudskiego 12. The lecture will be given by Michael Ondaatje, Canadian poet born in Sri Lanka, known in Poland as the author of the novel The English Patient, but remaining above all, a master of the art of poetry. Ondaatje will also take part in the debate, which will begin after his presentation. He will be joined by Syrian poet Adonis and reporter Olga Stanisławska, winner of Kościelski Award, in a discussion on Contemporary nomadism. The moderator will be poet and journalist Jaroslaw Mikołajewski.
The first day of the festival will end with a poetry recital hosted by Jerzy Illg in the historic Tempel Synagogue, where poets of the East and the West will meet. It refers to meetings held in Krakow in the late 90s, under the auspices of Czesław Milosz and Wisława Szymborska. During the recital, Breyten Breytenbach, Eugeniusz Tkaczyszyn-Dycki, Ashur Etwebi, Jerzy Kronhold, Piotr Matywiecki, Agnieszka Mirahina, Przemysław Owczarek, Tadeusz Pióro, Joanna Roszak and Olga Siedakowa will read their poems.
On Friday, June 10, readers will have the opportunity to ask the artists themselves about their inspiration and journeys deep into the poems – Libyan Ashur Etwebi will share with Krzysztof Siwczyk about combining the medical art with poetic creation, and the travels between Libya and Norway, where the writer lives currently under the ICORN Cities of Refuge programme. Then, Anna Kałuża will talk about Travel poems with her guests – Bartłomiej Majzel, Agnieszka Mirahina, Przemysław Owczarek and Tadeusz Pióro. During the next meeting, Olga Siedakowa will tell Adam Pomorski, translator and expert on her poetry, how she combines metaphysics with everyday life through literature.
On the other hand, the subject of the debate, which will take place on the second day of the Festival, will be Roadside art. How does this work and where to find traces of it? To reflect on this together will: poet, painter and art historian Eva Kuryluk, reporter Michał Książek and journalist, critic and publicist Tadeusz Sobolewski, together with the host, Adam Lipszyc. During the second poetry recital at St. Martin’s, Kacper Bartczak, Stefan Hertmans, Barbara Klicka, Aldona Kopkiewicz, Michael Ondaatje, Piotr Przybyła and Julia Szychowiak will read their poems. This extraordinary meeting will be hosted by Wojciech Bonowicz. At about 9:30 pm, an open air event awaits the festival audience – the film Still Coming Back. Portrait of Ryszard Krynicki, will be screened on the façade of the Czapski Pavilion, with a foreword by Andrzej Franaszek.
The third day of the Festival, June 11, will be opened with a discussion panel summarizing the poetry critique workshop. Tomasz Cieslak-Sokołowski will talk to Kacper Bartczak, Jerzy Jarniewicz, Marcin Jaworski and Anna Kałuża. The next meeting will be a memorial to the star of the Warsaw bohème, a friend of Julian Tuwim and Witold Gombrowicz – Zuzanna Ginczanka. Because of her Jewish ancestry, the poet was killed during World War II, at the age of only 27. Jarosław Mikołajewski will talk with Roma Sendyk about the poet’s phenomenon, extraordinary talent and place in the history of Krakow, and actresses Lidia Bogaczówna and Paulina Kondrak will read her poems.
On the third day of the Festival, Breyten Breytenbach, one of the most respected creators of the Afrikaans language will meet his readers. The writer, poet, essayist and painter will talk to Jerzy Koch. Also waiting for readers will be Stefan Hertmans, one of the most respected artists of the Dutch language. He is the author of War and Turpentine, but above all, the author of poetry balancing between realism and surrealism. Sławomir Paszkiet, the translator of his poems, will talk to the poet and writer. During the next meeting, Paweł Kaczmarski will ask Polish poets about Poems from nearby. Barbara Klicka, Aldona Kopkiewicz (winner of this year’s Silesius Award), Piotr Przybyła and Kacper Bartczak will attempt to answer these questions. On the same day, Hatif Janabi will talk with Adonis, presenting to the festival audience the extraordinary figure of the poet, translator and thinker, who engages in a critical dialogue with the Arab tradition.
As part of the third debate of Miłosz Festival, Magda Heydel will ask her guests about one of the most extraordinary expeditions of literature – which is, where the Routes of Translation run. The discussion will be attended by prominent translators: Marek Bieńczyk, Małgorzata Łukasiewicz, Ashur Etwebi. On the other hand, the evening of this day of the Festival will bring the eagerly awaited answer to who will win this year’s Szymborska Prize. During the ceremony at the Krakow Opera, names of two winners will be announced – for a book of poems in Polish, and for a book of poems translated to Polish.
The final day of the festival will begin with a meeting with the newly awarded laureates of the Szymborska Award. Later, Bronislaw Maj and his guests will commemorate Zdzisław Jaskuła – interpreter, poet and director of Teatr Nowy in Łódź, who died last year. Sława Lisiecka (wife of the author and translator), Krzysztof Siwczyk, Jerzy Jarniewicz and Joanna Orska will share their memories about Jaskuła. During the next meeting with a foreign guest, Agata Hołobut will invite Michael Ondaatje to talk about his multicultural roots, migration and the impact of those experiences on his poetry. In turn, Marta Koronkiewicz will talk to Polish artists – Jerzy Kronhold, Piotr Matywiecki, Joanna Roszak and Julia Szychowiak – as part of the meeting entitled Poems in Words and Silence.
Sunday afternoon will also be another opportunity to return to the person of Wislawa Szymborska and her extraordinary creativity. At 4 pm, Kino pod Baranami will host the gala première of the film Written life, produced by the Book Institute, Krakow Festival Office, Wisława Szymborska Foundation and Polish Television. The première will be accompanied by a discussion, featuring director Marta Węgiel, Robert Piaskowski, Dagmara Romanowska and Michał Rusinek. After this extraordinary screening, women will keep the baton still. The anthology of poems Polish female authors, Scattering the dark will be discussed by its editor Karen Kovacik and poets – Ewa Chruściel, Krystyna Dąbrowska, Joanna Lech, Krystyna Lenkowska and Ewa Parma. Obviously, all participants of the Krakow poetry feast anxiously await the meeting with Eugeniusz Tkaczyszyn-Dycki, hosted by Paweł Matywiecki. One of the most famous contemporary Polish poets will have the opportunity to talk about his new book of poems I Won’t Give Myself to You in Any Form (published by Lokator), which will première at the Miłosz Festival. Sunday evening is also a time other outdoor projection in the Pavilion Czapski – it will be another opportunity to see the film Posted life of the Polish Nobel Prize winner.
The 5. edition of the Miłosz Festival will close with a concert Jazzformance: Wirpsza. In a show combining poetry and jazz, musicians Marcin and Bartlomiej Oleś, and Piotr Orzechowski, along with actor Radosław Krzyżowski, will present the work of Witold Wirpsza, a poet who Stanisław Barańczak called “the inscrutable genius.” The concert will be held in ICE Krakow. Tickets at 25 zł are available in seven InfoKraków points, as well as at www.eventim.pl.
In addition to these events, during the Miłosz Festival held will be also meetings of poets and translators with students, who will have participated in the translation workshops. At these meetings, all foreign authors will share their experiences related to translation.
During the Festival, books of poetry by foreign guests will première, published by leading Polish publishing houses – Znak, Marginesy, Anagram, Mikołowski Institute and the College of Eastern Europe. These publications, along with the festival’s Almanac and books by invited guests, will be available at the festival centre.
The Road-side Dog is a book-cum-journey, meandering through the awe-inspiring fragments, ideas – both small and great, the mosaic of diverse experiences and reflections of the Nobel Prize winner. Certainly, the Krakow event will become an unforgettable source of experience to all the guests and participants, and a space for discussion about contemporary issues and ideas.
Organizers of the 5. Miłosz Festival – Krakow Festival Office and the Foundation City of Literature, in cooperation with the Wisława Szymborska Foundation and the Festival of Children’s Literature are waiting for you.