Born in Szewna near Ostrów Świętokrzyski in 1964, he has worked in steel mills and on construction sites, and until recently had his own program on Polish Radio Opole, where he has been living since 1990. In the 1980s, he cooperated with the pacifistic and ecological Freedom and Peace movement. He has been associated with bruLion since 1991.
He worked in steel mills and on construction sites until recently when he got his own program on Polish Radio Opole. He has won the Georg Trakl award in 1994 and Koscielski Prize in 1998.
Podsiadło has won many prizes and literary competitions, including the Georg Trakl award in 1994 and Koscielscy Prize, the Wrocław Silesius Poetry Award in 2015 and 2017, Wisława Szymborska Award in 2015 (ex-aequo with Roman Honet). He was nominated for Nike Literary Award five times (1999, 2000, 2006, 2015 and 2017), as well as for the Gdynia Award for his prose debut in 2009.
Podsiadlo records and lyrically transforms the contents of everyday experience, affirming privacy and authenticity while proclaiming a scepticism and distance from the institutions and rituals of public life. His verse is arranged in the form of a poetic journal of a life lived in conditions that seem far from poetic. Creatively developing existential themes, he concentrates on situations and moods that are routine rather than extravagant or exotic. Love, the Way (always written with a capital W), places, and recollections of childhood and youth are his starting points for unfurling his sentences and sequences of associations and names. His words wander between the concrete moment of objects and events, and its artistic transformation, which is dynamic, often astounding, and artful.
The critics noticed Podsiadło's inspiration with Polish baroque poetry, and also with works by Edward Stachura and poets of the '68 generation (mostly Stanisław Barańczak) and poets of the New York school (Frank O'Hara and others), but his poems are not dominated by any of these traditions. They are deeply individual, but at the same time they realize the classic ideal of harmony between the artistic impulse and poetic invention; although the language is rich both euphonically and in syntax, they are also simple and modest. Jacek Podsiadło says:
Even though I try, I am not able to understand some fundamental phenomena of our culture. For example, I don't understand, why people are ashamed of their privacy.
His later volumes, published in the XXI century, were a testimony of the metamorphosis of the author, who based a part of his poetic creation on an ecstatic reliving of youth as the source of inspiration and poetic passion. Marek Olszewski wrote:
A change can be seen in the series of the last books of poetry of one of the most important Polish writers of the 1990s literature. It makes up a melody in minor about an expired language, which – to use a classic trick known from the texts about his poetry – in the perspective of spied privacy turns out to be a story about missing oneself ("Dwutygodnik", 04/2015).
In 2006 his book Kra (Floe) was nominated for the Nike Award and in 2015 he was shortlisted for the same award for Przez Sen (In your Sleep). In 2009, he was nominated for the Gdynia Literary Award in the prose category for Życie a Zwłaszcza Śmierć Angeliki de Sancé (Life and Especially Death of Angelika de Sancé), and in 2015 he was nominated for the K. I. Gałczyński Poetry Award Orfeusz for Przez Sen. He received the Wisława Szymborska prize for the same book (ex-aequo with Roman Honet). Marek Olszewski wrote about this book:
In poems collected in Przez Sen, reality escapes the protagonist's arms. The illusion that it ever belonged to him, vanishes. The horizon widens (...) The narcissistic ego of the possessor – known from earlier Podsiadło's poetry as a boy who wins the world over as easily as he seduces girls – gets a lesson in humility from the unembraced earth. It's not easy to get over evanescence.
One of the last awards that Podsiadło received is also, in a way, a farewell to youth: in 2015 he was honoured with the Wrocław Poetry Prize Silesius for... life achievement. Piotr Kępiński wrote on this occasion:
Without doubt, he's a master. He wrote some weaker books, less convincing than those which fascinated from the first sentence to the last, like "W lunaparkach smutny..." (Sad in amusement parks...) (1990). But he always had his own style and courage to walk on the edges of subjects which seemed too obvious for other poets. He always searched for his place at literature's margins. And he finally found it, but not on the margins: right in the center.
Podsiadło received two awards for his Włos Breugeta (Breuget’s Hair) published in 2017 – Silesius Poetry Award for the Book of the Year and a nomination to the Nike Literary Award. What does the title mean? According to an Illustrated Watchmaker's Dictionary, Breuget's hairspring is an element of the balance mechanism, which was a natural hair in the first balance-clocks. It is difficult to sustain balance in a world full of violence, appropriation of history, hatred and justification of anti-human policies. The poet Podsiadło is aware that he has to find the golden mean as an answer to the ubiquitous journalistic and critical messages. It turns out to be love and eroticism.
Apart from poetry, Podsiadło also deals with children's literature, but also with children's literature. That is why the collection of editorials published in 2006, previously printed in Tygodnik Powszechny, published under the title Pippi, Dziwne Dziecko (Pippi, An Unusual Child, deals with parenthood, upbringing and relations between children and parents, but also with education and materialism. The basis for Podsiadło's reflections is the eponymous Pippi, a character embodying pure childhood created by Astrid Lindgren. A selection of editorials A Mój Syn... (And My Son...) published in the same year is constructed on a similar principle. Although each of the texts begins with the title of the book, not all of the writer's considerations relate to parenthood – they are often the starting point for Podsiadło's reflections on sport or politics.
Published in 2009, the novel Trzy Domy (Three Houses) for teenagers is Podsiadło's prose debut in the world of children's literature. It is a charming story of three sisters who have different characters and expectations from life, and their idyll is interrupted by a (not entirely) bad thief, Dariusz Wilczyński. In the same year (and again in 2016) the writer published a Czerwona Kartka dla Sprężyny (A Red Card for Sprężyna) – a novel in which he revealed his skill in constructing longer forms for teenagers and his courage in dealing with difficult topics. Podsiadło’s goal was writing a football novel about growing up and he masterfully scored. In 2015, the writer published Przedszkolny Sen Marianki (Marianka's Kindergarten Dream) illustrated by Daniel de Latour. Addressed to the youngest, the novel is a rhyming expedition through the corridors of the school, in which lessons are taught by, among others, Trzpiot the cat and Miki the gorilla. Another book intended for the youngest readers is the novel Konie, Dziewczyna i Pies. Pamiętnik (Horses, a Girl and a Dog. Diary) beautifully illustrated by Agnieszka Świętek.
Source: www.polska2000.pl; Copyright: Stowarzyszenie Willa Decjusza; updated by AP, July 2019.
- Wiersze wybrane 1985-1990 (Selected Poems, 1985-1990). Warsaw-Cracow: bruLion, 1992,
- Arytmia (Arhythmia). Warsaw: bruLion, 1993,
- Dobra ziemie dla murarzy (Good Soil for Bricklayers). Warsaw: Tikkum, 1994,
- Jezyki ognia (The Languages of Fire). Warsaw-Cracow: bruLion, 1994,
- The all the whales I'd love before. Bialystok: Kartki, 1996,
- Niczyje, boskie (Nobody's, Divine). Warsaw: bruLion, 1998,
- Wiersze zebrane (Collected Poems). Warsaw: Lampa i Iskra Boza, 1998,
- Wychwyt Grahama (The Graham Escapement). Warsaw: Lampa i Iskra Boza, 1999,
- I ja pobieglem w te mgle (And I ran through this mist). Cracow: Znak, 2000 (more...),
- Kra (Floe), Kraków: Znak, 2005,
- A mój syn...Wybór felietonów (And my Son... A collection of columns), Kraków: Znak, 2006,
- Pippi, dziwne dziecko (Pippi, a weird child), Warszawa: Hokus-Pokus Marta Lipczyńska, 2006,
- Życie, a zwłaszcza śmierć Angeliki de Sancé (Life and especially death of Angelika de Sancé), Kraków: Znak, 2008,
- Trzy domy (Three houses), Jacek Santorski & Co, Warszawa 2009,
- Czerwona kartka dla Sprężyny (A red card for Sprężyna), Nasza Księgarnia, Warszawa 2009,
- Pod światło (Against the light), Bez napiwku, Opole 2011,
- Być może należało mówić – uwory wybrane (Maybe it was better to talk – selected works), Biuro Literackie, Wrocław 2014,
- Przez sen (In your Sleep), Ośrodek Brama Grodzka – Teatr NN, Lublin 2015,
- Życie zawłaszcza śmierć w Wieprzowie Ordynackim (Life and especially Death in Wieprzów Ordynacki). Prószyński i S-ka, Warszawa 2015,
- Przedszkolny sen Marianki (Marianka's Kindergarten Dream) (illustrated by Daniel de Latour), Wrocław: Biuro Literackie, 2015,
- Wiersze. Wszystkie. 1 (Poems. Collection. 1), Opole: Bez Napiwku, 2016,
- Wiersze. Wszystkie. 2 (Poems. Collection. 2), Opole: Bez Napiwku, 2016,
- Czerwona kartka dla Sprężyny (A Red Card for Sprężyna), 2nd ed., Warszawa: Wydawnictwo "Nasza Księgarnia", 2016,
- Włos Bregueta (Breuget’s Hair), Poznań: Wydawnictwo Wojewódzkiej Biblioteki Publicznej i Centrum Animacji Kultury, 2016,
- Wychwyt Grahama (The Graham Escapement), 2nd ed., Warszawa: Fundacja Nowoczesna Polska, 2017,
- Sprzeczna jaskrawość (Contradictory luminance), Warszawa: Państwowy Instytut Wydawniczy, 2019,
- Litania i inne wiersze przeciw państwu (Lithany and other poems against the state), Poznań: Wojewódzka Biblioteka Publiczna i Centrum Animacji Kultury, 2019,
- Konie, dziewczyna i pies: pamiętnik (Horses, a Girl and a Dog. Diary) (illustrated by Agnieszka Świętek), Warszawa: Wydawnictwo "Nasza Księgarnia", 2019.