June 14, 2010

Grzegorz Wróblewski

Grzegorz Wróblewski [Poland/lives Denmark]

Grzegorz Wróblewski was born in 1962 in Gdansk and grew up in Warsaw, Poland.

Since 1985 he has lived in Copenhagen after publishing nine volumes of poetry and two collections of short prose pieces in Poland, three books of poetry, a book of poetic prose and an experimental novel (translated) in Denmark; and selected poems in Bosnia-Herzegovina (Mostar 2002). He has also published a selection of plays. His work has been translated into eight languages.

English translations of his poems/plays have appeared in numerous magazines, including London Magazine, Poetry London, Magma Poetry, Parameter Magazine, Poetry Wales, The Delinquent, Chicago Review, 3rd bed, Eclectica, and Mississippi Review, and in the anthologies: Altered State: The New Polish Poetry (Arc Publications, Todmorden, UK 2003), Carnivorous Boy Carnivorous Bird (Zephyr Press, Brookline, USA 2004), A Generation Defining Itself – In Our Own Words (MW Enterprises, USA 2007).


Ciamkowatość życia (Kraków-Warszawa: bibLioteka - Fundacja “bruLionu," 1992); Planety (Kraków-Warszawa: bibLioteka - Fundacja “bruLionu,” 1994); Dolina królów, (Białystok: Biblioteka “Kartek,” 1996); Symbioza, barbarzyńcy i nie (Legnica: Centrum Sztuki-Teatr Dramatyczny, 1997); Prawo serii (Bydgoszcz: Instytut Wydawniczy “Świadectwo,” 2000); Wybór (Warszawa: Lampa i Iskra Boża, 2003); Pomieszczenia i ogrody (Warszawa: Biblioteka Narodowa/Duński Instytut Kultury, 2005); Noc w obozie Corteza (Poznań :Wojewódzka Biblioteka Publiczna i Centrum Animacji Kultury, 2007); Pan Roku, Trawy i Turkusów (Katowice: Wydawnictwo FA-art, 2009)


Our Flying Objects – Selected Poems (Cambridge, UK: Equipage Press, 2007); These Extraordinary People (Liverpool: erbacce-press, 2008); Mercury Project (Claremont, USA: Toad Press, 2008); A Rarity (West Somerville, Massachusetts: Cervena Barva Press, 2009); Kopenhaga (trans. by Piotr Gwiezda) (Brookline, Massachusetts: Zephyr Press, 2013)


Old González, who feeds on grass
and collects fag-ends under the tables.
They say, that he once ate tortoise
to become immune from the coming
epidemic. (Americans throw him lettuce
leafs now!) Since that time tortoise have
never left him. González crawls on the ground
in silence. Filthy and popular as no other
tortoise in the vicinity.

Translated from the Polish by the author and Malcolm Sinclair


Some times it’s women with a false diamond
in the ear, other times gossiping parrots
or failed politicians.
There came often to my uncle’s house, a priest
in company with a professor in corpse
conservation. They played poker
and drank peppermint liquor.
They had a good time together.
I also knew a man who chose
loneliness. (He had a passion
for silence and vermin crawling
on the walls!) When he died,
he bequeathed his body.
He was a huge man.
He lasted many months.

Translated from the Polish by the author and Malcolm Sinclair


a brothel (250 per head)
a slaughter-house (a sweetish, sickly smell)
a barber (clips old men who are already dead)
this is my danish space and specifically
Valby Longstreet

a tired house-painter in white overalls
goes in, makes quick love
and leaves in his van from which
a folding ladder protrudes

(the butcher shovels up the red grease
from the street)

but I can’t go so suddenly in
and come so quickly out

Translated from the Polish by the author and Malcolm Sinclair

In a moment something bad will happen,
something I’ll be forced to forget quickly.
Or just the opposite.

Who knows their fate? An old washerwoman
hangs bed-clothes on lines between the trees.
When she sees the clear sky she is happy again.

—Translated from the Polish by the author and Malcolm Sinclair


Stooping streets and bars on the windows.
(Inhabitants guard their hard-won rings...)
It occurs to me that I recognise some faces.
Someone suddenly answers my greeting.
The last day I pass a girl, whom once I loved.
The girl is dirty and limps. She doesn’t see me.
She disappears pulling a hand-cart filled
with glass, old newspapers and ripe tomatoes.

—Translated from the Polish by the author and Malcolm Sinclair

Poems copyright ©2010 by Grzegorz Wróblewski. English language translations ©Grzegorz Wróblewski and Malcolm Sinclair.

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