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Jules Engel


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Getting along with Italians

Julia Hartwig - Poet

I can conclude briefly here by saying that after Artur died, naturally I was left by myself because my daughter is still in the States where she works and lives and where she got married. But I have never complained of solitude because it is something a writer has a great need of. The kind of solitude we don't need is the kind that prevents us from... comes from being rejected by society, but I'm not talking about that. I'm talking about the kind that we choose and in literary life, it's always a choice. Without solitude, without work – and I mean hard work – you'll have no results. These are banalities, genuine banalities, which are very real. So I had no other option than to really get down to some work and I have to say that this period was the most industrious of my entire life. I mainly filled my time with this, I travelled a little, I was in France – I went to France almost every year – I went on various holidays, I was invited to go abroad, so I can't complain that I was sitting at home. Italy in particular has embraced me lately because they published a selection of my poems and a two-volume edition of Glimmers a format that according to me I considered that I had created, but actually, it's a form of poetic note-taking made in a moment of a kind of elation. Those Italians... those Italians invited me many times. Many times, well, in the last two years I've been to Rome four times which had never happened before because if I was travelling, I preferred to go to Paris. But I fell in love with Rome with these visits and meetings because they always want to see the person, who wrote it, who translated it, so I had these meetings in the Italian Institute which currently is managed wonderfully, and the director invited all kinds of writers, artists – he really tries to show off Polish culture. And I have to say that he introduced a bit of Poland to Italy because they recalled that the Italians liberated them... that the Poles liberated them. A great many Poles remained and married Italian girls so there are these ties. In addition, we get along with Italians, it is a country that generally doesn't take things too seriously in life. There's an enviable ease in the way they go about their business. However, we have reasons to wish this ease was a little less great.

[Q] You're referring to the Polish Institute in Rome, aren't you?


[Q] And to its director Jarosław Mikołajewski who is also a poet?

Jarosław. Quite because I even think that it is worth saying that it is Jarosław Mikołajewski – poet, critic, former correspondent for Gazeta Wyborcza, who speaks the language exceptionally well, has an exceptional knowledge of Italian literature, who translated the classics and who works tirelessly. He is so very enthusiastic that he is probably the second such person I've met in my life who really wants to work and who knows what he is working for. I've said my piece.

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