Tuesday 4 December 2007

Salt Monody by Marzanna Kielar

Salt Monody is the latest collection of poetry from the Polish poet Marzanna Kielar, here in a bilingual edition with excellent English language translations by Elzbieta Wojcik-Leese. The poems took me right back into the ancient forest heart of Poland that I visited briefly years ago. Kielar's writing is very evocative and full of wonderful images like:

dark splash of a crow in the floodplain of silence

from the poem Dusk. A lot of the book feels quite bleak, set in winter weather in stark landscapes and there are dark themes running through, such as death and abandonment. However the collection is not depressing or grim, its too beautifully written for that. I also have to say that this is one of the best poetic translations I've read, I don't speak Polish so I can't say how close to the original the translations are, but as poetry they flow wonderfully and multiple meanings can be read throughout - wonderful enough in poetry at any time but very difficult to achieve in translation.

I haven't been able to find a bilingual website that offers Kielar's poems side by side in Polish and English (For readers who are interested in reading some of her poetry in Polish, there is a sample and a short biography here).


colleen said...

I love "dark splash of crow." I'll have to look up "monody."

Everydaythings said...

Juliet...have you got a link to those poems but in the polish version, I prefer to read them in polish then compare the translations.

Unknown said...

great recommendation - I will get it on my list!

shadows and clouds said...

that one line is very beautiful indeed, i'm now very curious! 'hope all is well there, have a good day

Janice Thomson said...

I have read some of her poems online and enjoyed her work immensely. Thanks for the reminder of her newest work.