Poet. He was born on March 15th 1903, and was killed on September 9th 1939 in Lublin.
In 1920 he volunteered to take part in the Polish-Bolshevik war. In 1921 he graduated from a teachers' seminar in Lublin. He worked as a teacher in Brasław and Słobódka. In 1922 he returned to Lublin, graduated from an annual higher teachers' course and started working in Włodzimierz Wołyński. In 1923, together with poets from the Lucifer group, he created a literary magazine entitled Reflektor, where he published his debut - Opowieść o papierowej koronie / A Story about a Paper Crown. In the following years Czechowicz became the leader of the Reflektor poetry group, which published the magazine until 1925, and from 1927 - the Reflektor Library. In 1925 he was the editor of a literary supplement to 'Przegląd Lubelsko-Kresowy'. He also published his texts in a local literary biweekly - 'Nowe Życie'.
Between 1925 and 1927 he was the chair of Lublin Special Needs School. Then he studied in the Institute of Special Education in Warsaw (1928-1929), at the same time working in the Institute for the Blind and Deaf. At that time he started collaboration with the Kwadryga poetry group, which resulted in publishing his works in the 'Kwadryga' magazine between 1928 and 1930. He also published in 'Droga' and took part in Lublin's literary life.
After publishing the volume Dzień jak co dzień / A Day like Any Other in 1930, he received the scholarship of the National Culture Fund and went to Paris. He went there together with Wilam Horzyca, but he had to quickly come back for health reasons (he had an eye disease). He didn't teach anymore, became a secretary and then editor in chief of the magazine Ziemia Lubelska.
In 1932 together with Franciszka Armsztajnowa he formed the Lublin section of the Union of Polish Writers (ZZLP). Between 1932 and 1934 he collaborated with 'Zet' biweekly. In September 1933 he moved to Warsaw and started working in the headquarters of the Polish Teachers' Union publishing house. He edited magazines for children 'Płomień' and 'Promyczek'. Between 1933 and 1934 he was the assistant editor of 'Głos Nauczycielski'. Since 1933 he has been collaborating with 'Pion' and 'Kamena', where he published poems, artistic prose, dramas, articles and translations of Slavic, French and English poetry.
Between 1933 and 1935 he edited a literary supplement to the Youth Legion weekly 'Państwo Pracy' and was the editor in chief of the Literature and Art Monthly ('Miesięcznik Literatury i Sztuki', 1934-1936), and from 1934 to 1939 the editor in chief of the Promień Słońca monthly. In 1936, accused of an immoral style of life (because of the hildur baldur i czas poem, considered a praise of homosexual love) he was forced to resign from the teachers' union and became the assistant editor of 'Pion'.
Between 1937 and 1939 he collaborated with 'Zwierciadło' monthly, and in 1938, together with Ludwik Fryde, he established the artistic quarterly 'Pióro'. In 1939 he worked in the literary section of the Polish Radio, for which he wrote many radio plays. After the war outbroke, he went to Lublin with a group of journalists, where he was killed in the beginning of September, during the bombarding of the city.
Czechowicz's poetry is classified to the 'third expression' current - third, because different from the traditional poetry of Skamander and from the avant garde poetry of the Cracow avant garde movement and the futurists.
When it comes to style, his poetry is characterised by a simple, casual syntax, resignation from punctuation and capital letters. His concept of poetic language is described as symbolical and magical. The poet strives to search for hidden substance, give the word its power, turn it into a spell. It leads to the mythisation of the world and unreality, and therefore to a personification of phenomena, heroisation of protagonists and ennoblement - the sources of such attitude can be traced to romantic poetry and folklore.
His poetry is oneiric and visionnary on the one hand, and musical on the other. Czechowicz is considered a 'musical virtuoso' and a 'master of sound instrumentalisation'. Sounds also create meaning in his poems. Interpreting musicality in Czechowicz's poetry, critics described it in different ways, sometimes calling in an 'unsung musicality' and sometimes 'lullaby-esque'. This shows a diversity of possible interpretations and also evolutions in the poet's work, which became more and more musical with time.
The world of Czechowicz's poetry is mostly a village and a small town, and major psychic tones are a sensibility, fragility and vulnerability. The dominating emotional colour is regret, aesthetic - elegy, and the main obsession is death. The thought of his own death is entwined with the premonition of a collective death, war, holocaust. Czechowicz is considered one of the most suggestive catastrophists of the inter-war period. He is a typical example of 'a poet of two wars' (most younger catastrophists had no war experience) - memories and premonitions influence each other. The motifs of water and fire play a major role, in a double meaning, which is both deadly and purifying. An important opposition is also the contradiction between Arcadia and Catastrophe - Arcadia's gentle beauty and Catastrophe's apocalyptic fear strengthen each other.
Czechowicz's work couldn't trespass the inter-war period, but it is one of that period's most interesting phenomena, and is characterized by consistency and coherence. Only few changes can be noticed with time - the increased melodiousness of musicality and enhancing the role of myth.
- Kamień / Stopne, Lublin 1927
- Dzień jak co dzień. Wiersze z lat 1927, 1928, 1929 A Day like Any Other. Poems from 1927, 1928, 1929, Warszawa 1930
- Ballada z tamtej strony / A Ballad from the Other Side, Warszawa 1932
- Stare kamienie / Old Stones (co-authored with F. Armszrajnowa), Lublin 1934
- W błyskawicy. Poezje / In a Lightening. Poems, Warszawa 1934
- nic więcej / nothing more, Warszawa 1936
- Czasu jutrzejszego. Dramat / Tomorrow's Time. Drama, wyst. Warszawa Teatr Nowy 1939
- Nuta człowiecza / Human note, Warszawa 1939
- Plan akcji / Plan of Action, Warszawa 1938
Autor: Bartłomiej Szleszyński, Wydział Polonistyki Uniwersytetu Warszawskiego, czerwiec 2003; translated by NMR, November 2016.