[Humanist] 27.379 Polish poetry

Humanist Discussion Group willard.mccarty at mccarty.org.uk
Thu Sep 26 08:10:16 CEST 2013

                 Humanist Discussion Group, Vol. 27, No. 379.
            Department of Digital Humanities, King's College London
                Submit to: humanist at lists.digitalhumanities.org

  [1]   From:    "Jan Rybicki" <jkrybicki at gmail.com>                       (27)
        Subject: RE: [Humanist] 27.375 Polish poetry?

  [2]   From:    Toma Tasovac <ttasovac at transpoetika.org>                  (30)
        Subject: Re:  27.375 Panels at conferences? Polish poetry?

  [3]   From:    anna.szot.sacawa at utoronto.ca                             (156)
        Subject: Re:  27.375 Panels at conferences? Polish poetry?

  [4]   From:    Sarah J Young <sarah at sarahjyoung.com>                     (79)
        Subject: Re:  27.375 Polish poetry?

        Date: Wed, 25 Sep 2013 07:04:46 +0200
        From: "Jan Rybicki" <jkrybicki at gmail.com>
        Subject: RE: [Humanist] 27.375 Polish poetry?

Dear Alun,

I would avoid using the inverted commas around Polish and mistaking
influential Russian poets for Polish ones, especially in what is an
obviously well-meaning initiative. Despite its nonexistence on European maps
and its absence from the race for the colonies, Poland has had a constant
and vivid poetic tradition dating at least to the Renaissance in no way
unbroken by the partitions of the 19th century, and more: literature, and
poetry in particularly, became the chief mode of expression of national
identity. This you can find out even from my old and amateurish course
website, http://www.ap.krakow.pl/nkja/literature/polpoet/session4.htm (just
navigate to the desired literary period, and don't be afraid of the old java
stuff); or from that wikipedia article
(http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Polish_literature#Young_Poland). On the other
hand, I sympathize with your problem: it might be somewhat more difficult to
pinpoint any WWI poets since this is not a separate phenomenon in Polish
letters as it is in Brit. Lit. One possible reason is that WWI was generally
treated by the Poles as a golden opportunity for independence, and their
modernists just kept on writing; the main reaction, in Poland, to WWI would
be the sudden switch to a literature liberated from its obligatory national

Sorry for all that Polish blarney,
Jan Rybicki

-----Original Message-----
> --[1]------------------------------------------------------------------------
>        Date: Tue, 24 Sep 2013 13:03:59 +0000
>        From: Alun Edwards <alun.edwards at it.ox.ac.uk>
>        Subject: Polish poetry
> Dear all,
> At the First World War Poetry Digital Archive we are working with a British schools poetry project (whose figurehead is the former poet laureate Andrew Motion).
> We are researching online resources from the First World War Poetry Digital Archive, Europeana 1914-1918 and other sources, which can be presented online for school teachers to use. As there is a growing Polish population in British schools, we are trying to discover if there are war poets or poems from the First World War which are recognised as "Polish", using the quote marks because until the end of the war Poland didn't regain its independence. Formerly the territory was part of the Prussian, Russian and Austrian empires. I'm aware of Nikolay Gumilev, but not really any of his works, is he regarded as a Polish writer?
> Many thanks for all pointers, Ally
> --
> Alun Edwards, Project Manager alun.edwards at it.ox.ac.uk Education Enhancement team, Academic IT Services at 
> University of Oxford
> // Europeana 1914-1918 www.europeana1914-1918.eu/ | RunCoCo: How to Run a Community Collection Online http://runcoco.oucs.ox.ac.uk/ | The Great War Archive www.thegreatwararchive.com/ 

        Date: Wed, 25 Sep 2013 16:55:12 -0400
        From: anna.szot.sacawa at utoronto.ca
        Subject: Re:  27.375 Panels at conferences? Polish poetry?
        In-Reply-To: <20130925034444.EBFEC306C at digitalhumanities.org>

Dear Sir,

Nikolay Gumilev is a very well known Russian poet.

Yes, there are Polish poems that are recognized as Polish (without the  
quotation marks as they were written in a Polish language regardless  
of the political situation of the country at that time). Patriotic war  
poems at the time were written, among others, Jerzy Żuławski  
(eg. poem "Do moich synów" - To my sons) i Edward Słoński  
(eg. poem "Ta co nie zginęła" - The one that did not  
perish). Other poets that co9me to mind are Józef Mączka i Józef  
Andrzej Teslar. Also many popular songs, such as "Szara piechota",  
"Przybyli ułani", "Serce w plecaku", "Marsz I Brygady" were first  
written as poems by Polish soldiers at the time (again Polish soldiers  
without question marks as they formed one Polish army, regardless of  
whether they were from territories under Russian, Prussian or Austrian  
occupation, and led by Pilsudski won back the independence of Poland.

Polish literature thrived at this time. Nobel prizes were awarded to  
Polish writers in 1905 and again in 1925. Polish culture and  
literature (again without question marks) was alive at this time  
without any question, sir.

Anna Szot-Sacawa
Bora Laskin Law Library
University of Toronto
anna.szot.sacawa at utoronto.ca

        Date: Wed, 25 Sep 2013 22:32:28 +0100
        From: Sarah J Young <sarah at sarahjyoung.com>
        Subject: Re:  27.375 Polish poetry?
        In-Reply-To: <20130925034444.EBFEC306C at digitalhumanities.org>

Dear Ally,

I'm not sure why you are under the impression that Nikolai Gumilev might 
be a Polish poet - he may have served in a nominally Polish regiment in 
WW1, but he was born and educated near St Petersburg, wrote in Russian, 
and has never been considered other than as a Russian poet. My research 
is on Russian prose of the 19th and 20th centuries, so I can't help you 
myself, but I suggest you contact my colleague Katarzyna Zechenter 
(k.zechenter [at] ucl.ac.uk), who is a specialist on Polish poetry.


Dr Sarah J. Young

Lecturer in Russian
Gower Street
London WC1E 6BT


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