Ryszard Krynicki

Ryszard Krynicki

Poet, translator, publisher, and one of the most important creators of contemporary Polish verse. He was born in Sankt Valentin (Lower Austria) and completed his studies at the II Liceum Ogólnokształcące in Gorzów Wielkoposki. He worked at the editorial offices of he bi-weekly “Student” around which the Generation of 1968, or New Wave of Polish poetry formed – a poetry movement in Poland in the 1960s and 70s that unmasked the hypocrisy and ineffectiveness of official public life of those times. In 1975 he became a signatory to the Letter of 59, protesting planned changes to the Constitution of the People’s Republic of Poland. His involvement in politics resulted in him being subjected to an official publishing ban from 1976 to 1980. In 1988 he founded the “a5” publishing house. He is a translator of works from German to Polish, including those of Bertold Brecht, Gotfried Benn, and Paul Celan. He debuted in 1968 with the poetry collection “Pęd pogoni, pęd ucieczki” (The Impulse to Pursue, the Impulse to Flee), which, like his following collections, was an attempt to free himself from deceptive communist “new-speak”. He is author of the poetry collections “Akt urodzenia” (Birth Certificate, 1969), “Drugi projekt organizmu zbiorowego” (Second Collective Organism Project, 1973), “Organizm zbiorowy” (Collective Organism, 1975), “Nasze życie rośnie” (Our Life is Growing, 1978), “Niewiele więcej. Wiersze z notatnika 78-79” (Not Much More. Poems From the Notebook, 1981), “Ocalenie z nicości” (Salvation From Nothingness, 1983), and “Niewiele więcej i nowe wiersze” (Not Much More and New Poems, 1984). In 1976 he received the Kościelski Foundation Award. In his works, the political comment and topical themes were quickly replaced by more universal reflections, indicating a more artistic thinking. Krynicki chose the road of poetic asceticism closer to the convictions of Issa – the master of haiku – than that of the frenzied language of the avante garde. The overriding gesture of that poetry was its quietness. The literary event of 2004 was the publication of his poetry collection “Kamień, szron” (Stone, frost) – published following a long hiatus. In the collection, Krynicki takes a serious look at society, investigates the paradox of existence, and records his everyday epiphanies. These poems are characterised by discipline and concentration, and are almost epigrammatic form. The artist frequently includes older works in his new books, because for the author of “Birth Certificate”, a text is not something finite to be left unto itself, but rather a voice to be continually revisited. The collection was nominated to the NIKE awards in 2005. At the Conrad Festival, Krynicki will take part in a meeting dedicated to the author of “Fugue of Death”, Paul Celan, and in a discussion on the correspondence between Celan and Bachmann.