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Stanisław Barańczak

Stanisław Barańczak, photo: Elżbieta Lempp
Stanisław Barańczak, photo: Elżbieta Lempp

A poet, translator, literary critic, essayist, scholar, editor and lecturer. Born in Poznań in 1946. Died on 26th December 2014.

He studied Polish at the Adam Mickiewicz University in Poznań, where he became a lecturer and earned his Ph.D. He made his way into publishing as a poet and critic in 1965. Barańczak was on the staff of the Poznań magazine "Nurt" from 1967-1971. After the political events of June, 1976, he became a co-founder of the Committee for the Defense of the Workers and of the clandestine quarterly Zapis. He began giving lectures on Polish literature at Harvard in 1981 and served as editor of The Polish Review. He was a co-founder of the Paris Zeszyty Literackie in 1983, and is a regular contributor to the periodical Teksty Drugie.

He was a leading poet of the New Wave and one of the most outstanding Polish writers to begin his career in the communist period, combining literary work with scholarship and politics. He was the most prominent translator in recent years of English poetry into Polish and of Polish poetry into English.

His Polish was permeated with the language of the poets he felt closest to - Emily Dickinson, John Donne and Robert Frost - and whose work he has made popular in Poland. The original poetry of Stanisław Barańczak is clearly dominated by three concerns: the ethical, the political, and the literary. His language is extraordinarily supple. His choice of subjects testifies to his community engagement; his language is always amazingly fluent. It may seem paradoxical that Barańczak began as a poetic critic of language and the social order but has achieved his greatest success as a late-twentieth-century Parnassist, a virtuoso of poetic form.

One of his books, Chirurgiczna precyzja / Surgical Precision, won the Nike Literary Prize in 1999.


Selected Publications

Poetry:

  • Korekta twarzy (Facial Corrections), Poznań: Wydawnictwo Poznańskie, 1968.
  • Jednym tchem (Without Stopping for Breath), Warsaw: Orientacja, 1970.
  • Dziennik poranny (Morning Journal), Poznań: Wydawnictwo Poznańskie, 1968.
  • Sztuczne oddychanie (Artificial Respiration), London: Aneks, 1978.
  • Ja wiem, że to niesłuszne (I Know It's Not Right), Paris: Instytut Literacki, 1977.
  • Tryptyk z betonu, zmęczenia i śniegu (Triptych with Concrete, Fatigue and Snow), Krakow: KOS, 1980.
  • Atlantyda i inne wiersze z lat 1981-85 (Atlantis and Other Poems), London: Puls, 1986.
  • Widokówka z tego świata (A Postcard from this World), Paris: Zeszyty Literackie, 1988.
  • 159 wierszy 1968-88 (159 Poems), Krakow: Znak, 1990.
  • Podróż zimowa (Journey in Winter), Poznań: a5, 1994.
  • Zimy i podróże (Winter and Journeys), Krakow: WL, 1997.
  • Chirurgiczna precyzja (Surgical Precision), Krakow: a5, 1998.
  • Wiersze zebrane (Selected Poems) Kraków: a5, 2006

Light verse:

  • Biografioly: poczet 56 jednostek sławnych, sławetnych i osławionych (Biographies of 56 Celebrated, Famous or Notorious Individuals), Poznań: a5, 1991.
  • Zwierzęca zajadłość: z zapisków zniechęconego zoologa (Animal Ferocity: From the Notes of a Discouraged Zoologist), Poznań: a5, 1991.
  • Słoń, trąba i ojczyzna (The Elephant, the Trunk, and the Polish Question), Krakow: Znak, 1995.
  • Fioletowa Krowa, (Purple Cow) Kraków: a5, 2007.
  • Pegaz zdębiał, (Pegasus Struck Dumb) Warsaw: Prószyński i S-ka, 2008.

Literary criticism:

  • Ironia i harmonia (Irony and Harmony), Warsaw: Czytelnik, 1973.
  • Język poetycki Mirona Białoszewskiego (Miron Białoszewski's Poetic Language), Wroclaw: Ossolineum, 1974.
  • Etyka i poetyka (Ethics and Poetics), Paris: Instytut Literacki, 1979.
  • Ksiażki najgorsze 1975-1980 (The Worst Books), Krakow: KOS, 1981.
  • Uciekinier z utopii. O poezji Zbigniewa Herberta (Fugitive from Utopia: On the Poetry of Zbigniew Herbert), London: Polonia, 1984.
  • Tablica z Macondo. Osiemnaście prób wytłumaczenia, po co i dlaczego się pisze (A License Plate from Macondo: Eighteen Attempts at Explaining Why One Writes), London: Aneks, 1990.
  • Ocalone w tłumaczeniu. Szkice o warsztacie tłumaczenia poezji (Saved in Translation: Sketches on the Craft of Translating Poetry), Poznań: a5, 1992.
  • Poezja i duch uogolnienia. Wybór esejów 1970-1995 (Poetry and the Spirit of Generalization: Selected Essays), Krakow: Znak, 1996.

Selected translations:

English:

  • The Weight of the Body: Selected Poems, Chicago: Another Chicago Press / TriQuarterly, 1989.
  • A fugitive from Utopia: The Poetry of Zbigniew Herbert, Harward University Press, 1987.

German: in anthologies:

  • Lebenslauf aus Büchern und Blättern - Frankfurt am Main: Suhrkamp, 1990.
  • Panorama der polnischen Literatur des 20. Jahrhunderts, Zürich: Ammann, 1997.
  • Polnische Lyrik aus 100 Jahren, Gifkendorf: Merlin, 1997.

Japanese:

  • Porando bungaku-no okurimono, trans. Moriyasu Tatsuya, Tokyo: Kobunsha, 1990

Russian:

  • Polskie poèty XX veka, trans. Natalija Astafeva, Vladimir Britanišskij, Sankt-Peterburg: Aletejja, 2000.

Serbian:

  • Povratak kuci, Zoran Đeric, Banja Luka - Beograd: Zadužbina "Petar Kočic", 2002

Spanish:

 
  • Antología poética, trans. Antonio Benitez, Anna Sobieska, Gijón: Ediciones Trea, 2014.

Source: www.polska2000.pl; Copyright: Stowarzyszenie Willa Decjusza.
 

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Culture.pl
2016/08/05
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Stanisław Barańczak

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