Wioletta Grzegorzewska's Finite Formulae & Theories of Chance, translated into English by Marek Kazmierski, has landed a place among the finalists of this year's edition of the international Griffin Poetry Prize.
The Griffin Poetry Prize, established in 2000 by Canadian philanthropist Scott Griffin, is Canada’s most prestigious poetry prize. It’s presented to the author of the best volume of poetry in the English language, or translated into English from any other language. The writers are awarded in two categories, international and Canadian.
The jury, made up of Tim Bowling, Fanny Howe, and Piotr Sommer, nominated three volumes from Canada and three of world poetry out of 560 applications: Wioletta Grzegorzewska’s Finite Formulae & Theories of Chance, translated by Marek Kazmierski, Michael Longley’s The Stairwell, Spencer Reece’s The Road to Emmaus and Wang Xiaoni’s Something Crosses My Mind.
In her new book Grzegorzewska undertakes a literary journey through her own family history, exploring a century of life, death, love and tragedy in both poetry and prose. With passion, tenderness and humour, she traces a path from the lives of her grandparents in early twentieth-century Poland, through two world wars, life under Communism and the subsequent liberation, to her own experiences as a migrant living in Britain on the Isle of Wight.
Last year's competition also had a Polish accent: Tomasz Różycki’s Colonies, translated by Mira Rosenthal, held a place on the international shortlist for the award as well.
The winners of the prize will be declared on 4 June, and a day before, all the finalists will meet in Toronto for the pre-final poetry reading. The prize in either category is 65,000 Canadian dollars.
Wioletta Grzegorzewska, born in 1974 in Koziegłowy, was raised in Jura Krakowsko-Częstochowska, in the village of Rzeniszów-Hektary. After graduating with a degree in literature studies she lived for a few years in Częstochowa, and in 2006 immigrated to England; three moves later, she settled in the Victorian town of Ryde on the Isle of Wight. She has published several volumes of poetry, the collection Notes from an Island, and the novel Unripe Fruit.
Marek Kazmierski is a writer, translator, and filmmaker. In 2010 he founded OFF_PRESS, a bilingual, independent publishing house in London. He is the editor-in-chief of Not Shut Up, a culture/literary magazine representing artists in prison. In 2013 he published a collection of ten short stories about Poles in Great Britain, titled Damn the Source.
Source: bookinstitute.pl, arcpublications.co.uk, griffinpoetryprize.com, edit. Agata Dudek, 21/04/15.