Cyprian Kamil Norwid (Image: Public Domain)
We are delighted to be working in partnership with the Polish Cultural Institute to celebrate the 200th anniversary of the birth of Cyprian Kamil Norwid.
Our celebrations will have two parts. On 21 June, Modern Poetry in Translation will publish a special digital feature on Norwid’s play Pure Love at Sea-Side Bathing, translated by Adam Czerniawski. The play script will be published online with animated illustrations by Emma Brierley: Temporary Commons, conceived & produced in partnership with Golden Hour Productions.
In addition to this digital feature, our summer 2021 issue will feature new commissions from poets Wayne Holloway Smith and Malika Booker, writing in response to Norwid. More details will be announced later in June, alongside further issue contents.
Ahead of these celebrations, the Polish Cultural Institute is premiering a new short film about Norwid, made by the Quay Brothers: VadeMecum. You can find the stream link at the bottom of this email. The Quay Brothers said:
We took the challenge to make this film for an audience who will have probably never ever heard of Norwid; however, in the briefness of this film, we had hoped that we could still ignite the gentle curiosity of the imagination of the viewer towards the legacy that this man left in writing and in art that was simply never validated in his lifetime.
About Cyprian Kamil Norwid
‘There comes a moment in the life of a culture when it produces a literary figure whose means and meanings are of the future.’ – said Andrei Navorozov in The Guardian review of the 2004 Collected Poems by C. K. Norwid translated by Adam Czerniawski (Anvil Press). Slavist Roman Jakobson called Norwid ‘one of the greatest world poets of the later nineteenth century’. Norwid’s visionary capacity often draws comparisons to William Shakespeare, William Blake, Charles Baudelaire or Emily Dickinson, in how his creativity exceeded his time and anticipated the future.
Cyprian Kamil Norwid, now recognised as one of the greatest Polish poets, was born in 1821 near Warsaw and died forgotten in a shelter for impoverished Polish war veterans and orphans in Paris in 1883. He spent most of his life in exile, living in Rome, New York, London and Paris and only one slim volume of his poetry was published during his lifetime (in Leipzig, 1863) to no critical acclaim. The rest of his work (or whatever was found after his death) had to wait until it was rediscovered in the following century. It was fully appreciated first by Zenon Przesmycki (of the Young Poland Movement) in the 1900s and then by Czesław Miłosz, Roman Jakobson, George Gomori, Jerzy Peterkiewicz, Michael Mikoś, Danuta Borchardt and Adam Czerniawski, among others – many of whom have translated Norwid’s work into English.
Link to the online stream for VadeMecum – The Quay Brothers