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Born at the meeting point of diagonals
Julia Hartwig Poet
Next Views Duration
1. Born at the meeting point of diagonals 223 03:34
2. My brother Walenty, the 'father of endocrinology' 103 00:54
3. A hostile reception in Paris 111 01:19
4. My brother Edward, the photographer 83 01:18
5. 'Jula the poet' 93 01:21
6. Exposed to culture from an early age 58 02:22
7. Learning French 81 01:26
8. My first meeting with Czesław Miłosz 112 02:06
9. Secret schooling in Warsaw 48 04:34
10. Lublin, the cultural hub 54 02:47
11. Cultural life in Warsaw during the occupation 47 01:19
12. The hazardous streets of Warsaw 48 02:46
13. Facing danger as a courier 39 01:22
14. Escape from the Gestapo 65 04:43
15. Literary activity after the war 34 01:41
16. Refugees from Russia 45 01:29
17. Łódź, the cultural capital of Poland 47 02:43
18. The literary company in Łódź 32 02:00
19. A new life beckons 33 03:45
20. Crossing the Vistula under a hail of bullets 54 00:55
21. How Edward survived Siberia 52 03:46
22. Making the most of living in Paris 46 04:13
23. A permanent seat in the Bibliothèque Nationale 47 03:14
24. Adventures with Apollinaire 112 02:02
25. Evenings in the cinema 41 01:42
26. Working in the embassy in Paris 45 05:23
27. Holidays in France 50 02:43
28. I meet Ksawery Pruszyński 143 01:30
29. As one door closes, another opens 65 03:55
30. Making friends with Jerzy Turowicz 53 01:18
31. New life in the new Polish reality 37 01:34
32. Artur Międzyrzecki 87 03:55
33. Censored correspondence 24 01:54
34. Joining the PEN Club 28 01:27
35. Friendship with Monika Żeromska 88 00:51
36. Among other writers 32 00:32
37. Hard times bring out the best in people 47 01:49
38. Martial law 48 01:48
39. Shooting at civilians 34 00:46
40. Enforced social stagnation 25 02:32
41. Waiting to leave Poland 34 05:35
42. Settling in in America 52 04:19
43. Life on Long Island 48 01:45
44. Getting to know America 31 03:54
45. The literary fruit of my time in America 24 02:48
46. Happy days on Long Island 36 04:06
47. What about going back to Poland? 47 00:56
48. Coming back to martial law 26 01:10
49. Does political freedom deter good writing? 25 02:25
50. A year without my husband 55 00:56
51. Preparing the anthology of American poets 26 01:11
52. A constant fiesta in Paris 29 01:05
53. The literary underground 25 01:15
54. Literary café culture 27 03:43
55. Afternoon tea at the Słonimskis 30 01:36
56. Herbert's attack on Słonimski 36 02:24
57. Herbert and Miłosz 62 02:10
58. No one had an unblemished past 35 02:20
59. Political divisions among writers 26 02:37
60. Keeping Słonimski company 22 01:02
61. After martial law 25 02:45
62. Our admiration of Iwaszkiewicz 34 06:42
63. Friends in the opposition 30 02:53
64. International connections 23 04:20
65. My prose poetry 24 03:35
66. Poetry Readings: Victoria 44 01:44
67. Poetry Readings: A Procession 28 00:49
68. Poetry Readings: On the Road 29 01:03
69. Poetry Readings: Classmates 36 00:50
70. Poetry Readings: Yet we desire it above all 44 01:00
71. Poetry Readings: For you Europe 46 01:05
72. Poetry Readings: The Gift of Mediation 58 01:25
73. Poetry Readings: Mavericks heretics spoilers 18 00:28
74. Poetry Readings: Seated woman 159 01:23
75. Poetry Readings: Philemon and Baucis 56 01:05
76. Poetry Readings: It is also this 33 00:34
77. Poetry Readings: He doesn't know 51 00:24
78. Poetry Readings: Sharks 29 00:24
79. Poetry Readings: Ghosts 68 00:45
80. Poetry Readings: Maurice 76 01:42
81. Poetry Readings: Under This Island 42 01:11
82. Konstanty Jeleński 56 04:27
83. Kot's gift of friendship 26 03:36
84. Kot's friends 20 04:16
85. My work with Artur Międzyrzecki 26 00:38
86. Writing children's literature 21 02:05
87. Inspiring diaries 21 01:28
88. The Church comes to our aid 18 02:15
89. Winning awards 11 03:34
90. The resurrection of Polish society 29 01:09
91. Artur's influence on the PEN Club 29 01:46
92. Translating Hungarian poetry 13 01:52
93. Getting along with Italians 34 03:44
94. Entertaining notable guests 14 05:11
95. Painting is my passion 31 06:07
96. Favourite American painters 27 00:47
97. My love for music 36 01:53
98. Lutosławski 23 03:25
99. Brodski 44 00:42
100. 'A moment can be enjoyed, too' 43 02:00

Urodziłam się 14 sierpnia 1921 roku. Mnie samej wydaje się to po prostu niewiarygodne, że... że tyle życia zostało mi przydzielone i jeszcze ciągle jestem dostatecznie aktywna i pracuję także literacko. Urodziłam się w Lublinie i w mieście tym moja rodzina znalazła się przypadkowo. Ojciec miał poprzednio, przed wybuchem rewolucji, miał dwa zakłady fotograficzne w Moskwie, był człowiekiem bardzo zamożnym ­– i tam urodziło się... właśnie poślubił w Moskwie moją matkę, Rosjankę, prawosławną, bardzo, bardzo piękną, ale przede wszystkim bardzo mądrą osobę, taką bardzo spokojną, bardzo harmonijną – i no oczywiście w czasie rewolucji wszystko to stracił i postanowili wyjechać do Polski, ponieważ była to jednak rodzina... rodzina mojego... mojego ojca i cała... cała rodzina stąd pochodziła. Babka pochodziła z Suwałk, była nauczycielką ludową, dziadek zajmował się meblarstwem i pochodził z południowo-wschodniej Polski. Także muszę powiedzieć, że urodziłam się jak gdyby na skrzyżowaniu takiej... takiej przekątnej, która przechodzi przez Polskę. Moi... jestem jedną... jestem piątą z rodzeństwa, które mam. Czworo z nich – jedyną, która urodziła się w Polsce – wszyscy oni urodzili się w Moskwie i tam już zaczęli nawet chodzić do szkoły, o czym potem zapomnieli zupełnie, bo rosyjski nie był jakąś taką preferencją, co było bardzo zresztą dla mojej matki bolesne, bo tutaj jak gdyby zamiłowanie do języka spierało się z ogólną niechęcią do Rosji i do Rosjan, znaczy, co było zupełnie zrozumiałe. Bardzo to odczuwała, nawet nie to – bo w końcu nikt jej żadnych przykrości z tego powodu nie robił – ale to, co było dla niej najtrudniejsze, to... to nostalgia, ogromna tęsknota za... za krajem, za Rosją. No jednak w stosunku do Moskwy- Lublin to była taka mała, mała prowincja, toteż... ale już nie o to chodziło, bo nie była jakby na jakieś blaski życia przygotowana szczególnie, natomiast bardzo odczuwała brak przyjaciół, brak języka. No i niestety to koniec był bardzo smutny, ponieważ moja matka, kiedy ja miałam 9 lat, popełniła samobójstwo, także zostałam półsierotą, ale w takim gronie, które mi zapewniało jak gdyby pewne bezpieczeństwo i nawet czułość i serce. To było... byli moi dwaj bracia i dwie siostry. Ze wszystkimi utrzymywałam zawsze stosunki bardzo dobre i... a oni przypominali, jak nosili mnie na rękach po domu, co się nie zawsze zdarza młodzieży, ale widocznie była to bardzo dobra młodzież. Ci dwaj bracia... nasza rodzina została jak gdyby tak podzielona potem – moja rodzina – na taki jeden, jeśli to można powiedzieć, obóz, bo nie były to wrogie obozy tylko po prostu przydział medyczny.

I was born on 14 August 1921. I find it incredible that I have been granted such a long life and that I am still reasonably active and continue to work in the literary world. I was born in Lublin where my family found themselves by chance. Formerly, before the Russian Revolution, my father owned two photographic studios in Moscow, he was a very wealthy man, and that's where... he married my mother in Moscow, she was Russian, Orthodox, extremely beautiful but above all, a very wise person, very serene, very harmonious – and of course, he lost all of this during the revolution and so they decided to leave for Poland because, after all, it was my father's family and that's where the whole family came from. My grandmother was from Suwałki, she was a teacher; my grandfather was a furniture-maker from the south-east of Poland. So I have to say that I was born at a kind of meeting point of diagonals that crossed Poland. My... I am one... I am the fifth child. Four of my siblings – I'm the only one who was born in Poland – were all born in Moscow and had even started school over there, which later on they forgot about completely because Russian wasn't a particular favourite, which, for my mother, was very painful. It was a matter of a love for the language conflicting with a general dislike of Russia and Russians which was quite understandable. She felt this very keenly, or perhaps not this in itself because nobody was unkind to her for that reason, but the thing she found hardest to bear was nostalgia, an enormous longing for her country, for Russia. In relation to Moscow, Lublin was this very small province, but that wasn't the issue because my mother wasn't expecting a glittering lifestyle, but she did miss her friends and her language very much. Unfortunately, the end was very sad because when I was nine years old, my mother killed herself, and so I was semi-orphaned although I remained among people who provided security and even tenderness and kindness. These people were my two brothers and two sisters. We were always on very good terms with one another and they would recall how they carried me in their arms around the house. Young people aren't often like this so these must have been exceptionally good youngsters. These two brothers... our family was later sort of divided – my family – into one, you could call it, camp although they were never hostile camps, just medical divisions.

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: Lublin, Poland, Suwałki, Bolshevik Revolution, Russia, Moscow, Russian Revolution

Duration: 3 minutes, 34 seconds

Date story recorded: June 2010

Date story went live: 10 May 2011

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