A poet, essayist, translator and author of children's books, she was born in Lublin in 1921. She has been awarded numerous fellowships in France and the United States and has won the Jurzykowski Prize and the Thornton Wilder Prize from the Translation Center at Columbia University, as well as the Austrian Georg Trakl Prize for poetry. She passed away peacefully on 14 July 2017.
Despite having published only a few volumes of poetry, she occupies a prominent place in the Polish literary landscape. Resisting categorization, she holds a position all her own, removed from current fashions or snobbery. One characteristic of her poetry is a dislike for overall views of the world or single emotional tonalities. In her subtle and refined works (which nevertheless have one thing in common: accessibility), there are often reconciled contradictions. Seriousness counterbalances irony and despair offsets the ecstatic joy of existence. She develops her verses onirically, with visions full of images juxtaposed with skillfully evoked concrete facts or semi-mystical illumination that shows the inner structure of visible reality. They also contain an intellectual maturity and a knowledge of the richness of the world we have been given, in all its dark and bright aspects and in its impossibility of reduction to a single formula, evaluation or program.
She usually uses "calm", carefully-crafted forms, avoiding chaos and randomness. She is one of the few poets able in an accomplished way to exploit the poeme en prose. This certainly has something to do with her long association with French literature. Hartwig has translated Apollinaire, Rimbaud, Max Jacob, Cendrars and Supervielle, and published studies of Apollinaire and Gerard de Nerval. She has also translated from English and published a large anthology of modern American poems, I Sing Modern Man, in 1992 (in collaboration with her late husband, the poet Artur Międzyrzecki).
Contradiction is my element, the right for which I fight. (Julia Hartwig)
Julia Hartwig's There's No Answer was the finalist of the literary 2002 Nike Award, her poetic prose Flashes was nominated for the 2003 Nike Award, and the collection of poems Bez Pożegnania / No Farewells has been nominated for the 2005 Nike Award - one of the most prominent literary prizes in Poland.
Source: www.polska2000.pl; copyright: Stowarzyszenie Willa Decjusza, updated July 2017
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