Voices From Poland I: The Restoration of Order

Voices From Poland I: The Restoration of Order

Stanislaw Barahczak, poet and essayist, was born in 1946 in Poznan, Poland. He studied at Adam Mickieivicz University in Poznan and received a doctorate in Polish literature in 1973. He was one of the cofounders of KOR in 1976 and a coeditor of Zapis and Krytyka, two of the most influential independent publications. In 1977 he was fired from his teaching position at the university in Poznan and was without work for three years until pressure from the Solidarity movement caused his reinstatement in 1980. His poetry, including I Know This Is Not Right (1977) and A Triptych of Cement, Weariness, and Snow (1981), blends social concerns with linguistic experiment. Translations of his poetry can be found in Czeslaw Milosz’s Post-War Polish Poetry and his essays have appeared in the New Republic, Encounter, and Tri-Quarterly. He is now teaching Polish language and literature at Harvard. Something of a nonperson and unpoet in present-day Poland, his translations from English do, however, continue to appear; he retains a Polish passport, his future linked with Poland’s. — RICHARD LOURIE

1
According to unconfirmed reports. Which should be treated
with caution. According to unconfirmed reports
delayed in reaching us due to
unfavorable snowy weather and barbed wire. According
to unconfirmed reports, things had gotten out of hand,
air was being sucked into lungs too greedily, the sense
of reality had been lost—kicks in the ass were being refused—
the dialogue between brass knuckles and jaws had been
disrupted, the fault of the latter. According
to unconfirmed reports, there’s little cause for surprise.
Little cause to be surprised by the decisive reaction.
A reaction caused by the will to restore order
so that everyone knows his place.