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Poetry Readings: Yet we desire it above all


Poetry Readings: Classmates
Julia Hartwig Poet
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Wiersz nazywa się Koleżanki, przypomina okres okupacji niemieckiej.


Głos łacinniczki był jakby trochę ostrzejszy,

kiedy się do nich zwracała.

(Nigdy po imieniu)

Miriam była zawsze doskonale przygotowana,

Reginka słabsza, ale poprawna.

Trzymały się razem

i razem wychodziły z klasy przed lekcją religii.


Ostatni raz spotkałyśmy się niespodziewanie u wylotu Lubartowskiej,

na granicy świeżo utworzonego getta.

Stały tam onieśmielone jakby przydarzyło im się coś wstydliwego.

This poem is called Classmates and it recalls the period of German occupation.


The Latin teacher's voice seemed a bit sharper

when she addressed them

(never by the first name).

Miriam was always perfectly prepared,

Reginka weaker but correct.

They kept together

and together left the classroom before Religion.


The last time we met unexpectedly

at the end of Lubartowska Street,

on the border of a freshly created ghetto.

They stood there timidly as if something shameful

happened to them.


Taken from 'In Praise of the Unfinished: Selected Poems' (2008) translated, from the Polish, by John and Bogdana Carpenter.

Born to a Polish father and a Russian mother, Julia Hartwig (1921-2017) was a Polish poet, essayist, translator and author of children's books. She studied at the University of Warsaw, the Catholic University in Lublin and the Jagiellonian University in Kraków. Czesław Miłosz called her 'the grande dame of Polish poetry'. Julia Hartwig was one of the few poets in Poland who made masterly use of poetic prose. She translated poems by Apollinaire, Rimbaud, Max Jacob, Cendrars and Supervielle, and published monographs on Apollinaire and Gerard de Nerval. She also translated from English, and published a large anthology of American poetry which she co-edited in 1992 with her late husband, the poet Artur Międzyrzecki.

Listeners: Andrzej Wolski

Film director and documentary maker, Andrzej Wolski has made around 40 films since 1982 for French television, the BBC, TVP and other TV networks. He specializes in portraits and in historical films. Films that he has directed or written the screenplay for include Kultura, which he co-directed with Agnieszka Holland, and KOR which presents the history of the Worker’s Defence Committee as told by its members. Andrzej Wolski has received many awards for his work, including the UNESCO Grand Prix at the Festival du Film d’Art.

Tags: Classmates, Lubartowska Street

Duration: 50 seconds

Date story recorded: June 2010

Date story went live: 15 June 2011