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Tomasz Różycki

Tomasz  Różycki, photo: Elżbieta Lempp
Tomasz  Różycki, photo: Elżbieta Lempp

Poet, essayist, translator from the French, born 1970.

Różycki lives in Opole. He is the winner of the 2004 Kościelski Award (for the poem Dwanaście stacji /Twelve Stations, nominated for the 2007 Nike Literary Award (for the volume Kolonie /Colonies).

Różycki's poetry is easy to recognize owing to its diction. The poems are rhythmic and often rhymed, and he sometimes groups them into cycles of sonnets or songs in an apparent reference to early Polish poetry. Enumerations, references to horror vacui and use of concepts are also evocative of the Baroque period. The pre-war staffage of the volume Chata umaita shows that Różycki revisits other pasts, too.

Although Różycki's poetry is generally deeply rooted in literary tradition, his attitude to the past is in no respect slavish. This independence of his is confirmed by a number of ironic references which turn the meaning around, such as the one to an excerpt from Czesław Miłosz's Traktat moralny / A Moral Treatise (Lawina bieg od tego zmienia / Po jakich toczy się kamieniach) in the sixth poem of the cycle Kampania zimowa 2003 from the volume Świat i antyświat /The world and antiworld. This is not a poetry which contents itself with simple repetitions of existing literary motifs, even though it clearly affirms them.

Except for the volume Kolonie, a sentimental journey to the country of childhood dreams of pirates and distant lands, Różycki's poetry is the product of a gift of acute observation and love for specifics. This said, he usually transforms his reminiscences of the real world into nightmarish images evocative of damage and destruction, such as floods, climatic change, undefined historical disasters, power breakdowns and, last but not least, ambiguous situations conveyed by phrases like "the world has gone bad". Love, art and journeys (often to Italy - another cultural sign that places Różycki within the neoclassical poetry) offer an escape from this nagging reality.

The poems from the volume Świat i antyświat bring, in turn, some references to anarchism "wyłączyli prąd / i zdechły urzędy, państwo przestało gryźć" /"they switched off the power / and the offices went down, the state stopped biting" and a "no" to consumerism. However, this is not so much a Weltanschauung statement as another of the plentiful signs of alienation from, or a protest against, the current realities.

Różycki's characteristic gesture of appropriation of the past is best manifested in his grotesque poem Dwanaście stacji. Its key character, called Wnuk /Grandson, a descendant of inhabitants of Ziemie Odzyskane, the territories recovered from Germany after World War II, is given the task of organizing a family trip to the former Polish territory in the east. To prepare for that, Wnuk has to visit and gather the family, and this offers Różycki a pretext for presenting a gallery of peculiar characters torn between the current life in the Śląsk Opolski region and the past living in what he calls Ziemie Zabrane /Territories Taken Away, that is the territories joined to the Soviet Union after World War II. Różycki has chosen a theme which does not really belong to his generation.

Dwanaście stacji is said to contain references to Adam Mickiewicz's Pan Tadeusz - and indeed, they may be spotted in some isolated structural devices, as indicated by Andrzej Skrendo. The fragmented nature of the plot, however, situates Różycki's poem closer to the tradition of the romantic digressive poem.

The exclusion of Różycki from the dictionary and anthology of young Polish culture Tekstylia. O rocznikach siedemdziesiątych/About the 1970s Generation (Kraków 2002) may imply that his works do not possess the characteristics which are usually associated with young poetry. It is probably the somewhat ornamental character of Różycki's poetry that has made him an alien.

Bibliography:

  • Vaterland, Stowarzyszenie Literackie im. K.K. Baczyńskiego, Łódź 1997.
  • Anima, Zielona Sowa, Kraków 1999.
  • Chata Umaita, Lampa i Iskra Boża, Warszawa 2001.
  • Świat i antyświat, Lampa i Iskra Boża, Warszawa 2003.
  • Wiersze, Lampa i Iskra Boża, Warszawa 2004 (reprint of the contents of Różycki's first four volumes of poetry).
  • Dwanaście stacji, Znak, Kraków 2004.
  • Kolonie, Znak, Kraków 2006.
  • Stephane Mallarmeé, Rzut kośćmi nigdy nie zniesie przypadku, transl. Tomasz Różycki, Korporacja Ha!Art, Kraków 2005.


About Różycki:

  • Maria Cyranowicz, Poezja umaita, Studium 2/2002.
  • Andrzej Skrendo, Ów Różycki, Odra 12/2004.
  • Jacek Gutorow, Niepodległość głosu. Szkice o poezji polskiej po 1968 roku, Znak, Kraków 2003.
  • Paweł Kozioł, Dekolonizacja, Wakat 1/2006.
  • Magdalena Rybak, Rozbiórka. Wiersze, rozmowy i portrety 26 poetów, Biuro Literackie, Wrocław 2007.


Author: Paweł Kozioł, September 2008. This profile was written for an Internet project An Anthology of Polish Poetry from the Middle Ages to 21st Century. The project was designed by Piotr Matywiecki.
 

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Culture.pl
2009/06/08
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Tomasz Różycki

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77 poems with exotic colonial titles, with plentiful disturbing and memorable images, come together in a cycle praising the power of poetic language and imagination. Nomination for the 2007 Nike Literary Award... Read more about: Colonies - Tomasz Różycki

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Tomasz Różycki
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