A poet and translator of contemporary English-language poetry, born in 1948.
Sommer translated into Polish Frank O'Hara, Charles Reznikoff, John Ashbery, Kenneth Koch, John Berryman, Robert Lowell, Derek Mahon, Seamus Heaney. He has published several dozen books: poetry (his own and translations), literary criticism, anthologies. He also writes poetry for children and is editor of the monthly "Literatura na Świecie / World Literature." He lives outside Warsaw.
Sommer's poetry is marked by tender attention to everyday things, and a desire to elevate routine situations that is counter-pointed by the transformation of everyday pathos into humor. Sommer has written verse about the fate of his generation, including some political verse, but as a poet he is ostentatiously private. The world of his poetry is the world he shares with his family and friends, and above all the world of the pleasure of conversation. These are conversations held in the here and now, even though they are often conversations between the living and the dead. They always feature a dash of irony and contrariness, but there is also warmth and a respect for the presence of others. Sommer enjoys the musicality of language and playfully bends syntax in the search for that music, contrasting words and intonations from different linguistic registers high and low. His poetry is often a theatre of overheard voices and various types of speech. This, together with an attachment to the concrete (we always know who is speaking and whether the poem is happening on the street, at home, in a Warsaw housing block or in a frame house outside the city), distinguishes and identifies Sommer's poetry.
Source: www.polska2000.pl, Copyright: Stowarzyszenie Willa Decjusza