Thursday, 25 August 2016

POET OF THE MONTH #38: Ewa Lipska

May 2006


Children meet at nostalgic dinner-parties.
Children meet in executive sessions.
Children are experienced.
Some of them cannot recognize a swan.

Children have identity papers.  Birth certificates.
Health records.  Certificates of death.
Children choose their leaders who
make speeches praising rocking horses.

Children hijack planes and kidnap ministers.
Children emigrate to the ends of earth.
Children submit reports about their parents.
Children fight for the rights of wooden dolls.
Children sit in astrakhan fur coats.
Pink cakes fly through the air.
Children recall the fallen Roman Empire
and nod their little heads.
In the huge kindergarten of nations
children play ball and
spit cherry stones at each other.
They switch on an artificial sun
that rises like a mitigating circumstance.
Then children put aside their toys
and start to produce some new children.

date unspecified


The Poet: The following biographical statement written by Ad van Rijsewijk and translated from Dutch by Michele Hutchison appears on the Poetry International Rotterdam website.  [It is re-posted here for information purposes only and, like the poem re-posted above, remains its author's exclusive copyright-protected intellectual property.]

Ewa Lipska is one of the most important Polish poets of her generation.  She studied painting at the Academy for Fine Arts in Krakow, and from 1970 to 1980 she worked as an editor at the Krakow publishing house Wydawnictwo Literackie.  In the 1990s she lived for seven years in Vienna, where she was assistant manager of the Polish Cultural Foundation.

She debuted as a poet in 1967 with the collection Wiersze [Poems], and from then until 1978 she published four more collections, from Drugi zbior wierszy [The Second Poetry Collection] up to Piaty zbior wierszy [The Fifth Poetry Collection].  She has now published more than twenty poetry collections and several anthologies.  Her most recent poetry collection Pomarańca Newtona [Newton’s Orange] was published in 2007, and her first novel, Sefer, in 2009.

Lipska’s work has been awarded various literary prizes and her books have been translated into fifteen languages, including English, German, French, Spanish, Swedish and Hebrew.  Two of her collections have appeared in the Netherlands: Mensen voor beginners [Human Beginners] (De Geus, 2000) and Splinter (De Geus, 2007).
Although Lipska is sometimes considered as part of the 'New Wave' group of the 1970s, she distances herself from such associations, preferring to operate autonomously.  Over the years, her mistrust of the language of her daily surroundings, for her a language of masks and lies, has grown.  In response, Lipska has developed an inverted language, which is confrontational and frequently ominous.  Her poems are lucid, and in few words, she puts forth her own reality with gentle irony.  Fascinated by human behaviour, she strips away the false meaning of words, proving that we’re still merely 'Human Beginners'.                      
Text © 2010 Ad van Rijsewijk

Click HERE to read more poetry by EWA LIPSKA published on the website of international magazine Words Without Borders.

You might also enjoy:
POET OF THE MONTH #27: Adam Zagajewski
POET OF THE MONTH #3: Wislawa Szymborska
POET OF THE MONTH #9: Julian Tuwim

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