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Ryszard Krynicki

Photo by Joanna Helander

Ryszard Krynicki

Rue de Poitiers

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Read by Wojciech Barczyński, recorded by Radiofonia Association
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English translation: Clare Cavanagh
Late afternoon, light snow.
The Musee d’Orsay’s on strike, nearby
a gray lump bundled on the sidewalk’s edge:
a bum curled in a ball (maybe a refugee
from some country caught in civil war)
still lying on the grate, packed in a quilt,
a scrap-heap sleeping bag, the right to life.
Yesterday his radio was playing.
Today coins cooling on a paper shape constellations,
nonexistent moons and planets.
English translation: Clare Cavanagh
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Ryszard Krynicki

(b. 1943) – a poet, essay writer, publisher, and translator. In 1975, one of the signatories of the Memorial 59: an open letter of Polish intellectuals against changes of the Constitution of the People’s Republic of Poland. Received a nomination to Nike Literary Award for his volume of poetry Kamień, szron (Stone, Frost, 2004). Moved to Krakow for good in 1998. Moreover, Krynicki decided also to bring here from Poznań his a5 publishing house, one of Poland’s leading publishers of poetry. It has won renown for publications of poems by Szymborska, Zagajewski, Barańczak and Herbert. A perfectionist, he says that if he were a painter, he “would probably belong to those who steal into the museum to touch some things up in their works”. (ms)
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