The Poet and His Translators: Poland’s Ryszard Krynicki in Conversation with Clare Cavanagh and Alissa Valles

Apr, 23 2018 | 4:15 PM

The Poet and His Translators: Poland’s Ryszard Krynicki in Conversation with Clare Cavanagh and Alissa Valles

Fong Auditorium

Address: Boylston Hall 110, Boylston Hall 110
City: Cambridge
State: MA
Zip: 2138

Poetry reading and discussion. Introduction by Aleksandra Kremer.

A book-signing and reception will follow the event in the Ticknor Lounge in Boylston Hall (adjacent to the Fong auditorium). Books will be available for purchase.

Ryszard Krynicki, one of Poland’s most important contemporary poets, was born in a Nazi labor camp in Austria in 1943. He became one of the most prominent poets of the New Wave generation of 1968, alongside Adam Zagajewski and Stanisław Barańczak. During the 1970s and 80s, Krynicki was associated with the democratic opposition in Poland and his works were consequently banned. But his poetry was hardly just political. A distinctive combination of mysticism, compression, and wit shapes Krynicki’s writing from the early dissident poems to his late haiku. An acclaimed editor and publisher as well as a translator of German-language poets, Krynicki has won major prizes, including the 2015 Zbigniew Herbert International Literature Prize. His selected poems, Magnetic Point, as well as the volume Our Life Grows, first published in Paris in 1978, are now available in English,translated by Clare Cavanagh and Alissa Valles.

Clare Cavanagh is Frances Hooper Professor of Arts and Humanities and the Chair of the Slavic Department at Northwestern University. Her most recent book, Lyric Poetry and Modern Politics: Russia, Poland, and the West, received the National Book Critics Circle Award in Criticism for 2010. She has translated, or co-translated, sixteen volumes of Polish poetry and prose, including Wisława Szymborska, Map: Collected and Last Poems(with Stanisław Barańczak), Adam Zagajewski, Slight Exaggeration, and Ryszard Krynicki, Magnetic Point (New Directions, 2017). She has recently been awarded an American Academy of Arts and Letters Award in Literature for 2018.

Alissa Valles is the author of the poetry books Orphan Fire and Anastylosis and editor and co-translator of Zbigniew Herbert’s Collected Poems and Collected Prose. She has also translated Zuzanna Ginczanka and Bożena Keff. Her translation of Ryszard Krynicki’s Our Life Grows was published by NYRB Poets in 2017.

Free and open to the public.

Co-sponsored by the Harvard Department of Slavic Languages and Literatures (Weintraub Lecture in Polish Literature) and Mahindra Humanities Center Rethinking Translation Seminar, with special thanks to the Harvard Book Store, New Directions, and NYRB.