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Konstanty Jeleński


Poetry Readings: Under This Island
Julia Hartwig Poet
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I ostatni wiersz, znaczy to proza, która na ogół jest tak używana jako hasło wywoławcze do moich próz poetyckich – to jest taki... taki wiersz o którym... Przeczytam go najpierw, bo jest króciutki.


                                                                      Pod tą wyspą


          Pod tą wyspą jest inna wyspa, może jeszcze piękniejsza.

          Ku niej płynie uśmiechnięta pływaczka, łącząc błyskawicznym łukiem

skałę, powietrze i wodę.

          Chciałabym widzieć cię ze wszystkich stron, stworze, fragmencie, za-

wierucho, wspaniały obłędzie jasnego umysłu.


To może już dosyć na dzisiaj. Muszę powiedzieć o tym wierszu – ten wiersz w przekładzie włoskim jest także, i... posłał go ten kierownik z naszej stacji – no, właściwie naszego instytutu – do... na Sycylię i powiedział – ten wiersz... że ten wiersz im posyła, żeby nie byli tacy mądrzy, bo pod... pod ich wyspą jest jeszcze inna wyspa, może piękniejsza! Tak. Myślę, że się na żarcie poznali.

And the last poem or prose which is usually cited as a prime example of my prose poems is poem about which… I'll read it first because it's short.


Under this Island


            Under this island there is another island, maybe even more beautiful.

            Smiling she swims toward it, uniting with a flash-like arc the rock, the air, and the water.

            I would like to see you from all sides, creature, fragment, storm, splendid madness of a clear mind.


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


That's probably enough for today. I just want to say about this poem, this poem has been translated into Italian as well, and the director of our station – in fact, of our institute – sent it to Sicily and said he was sending them this poem so they wouldn't be so smart because there was another island under theirs which perhaps was even more beautiful! Yes, I think they got the joke.

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: Under this Island, Sicily

Duration: 1 minute, 11 seconds

Date story recorded: June 2010

Date story went live: 15 June 2011