This “serendipitous” collection of essays on Polish poetry from the Baroque period to the present day makes no claim to present a complete and panoramic overview; instead, the choice of poets is designed to facilitate an extended and open-ended meditation on the intertwining motifs of flesh and spirit in several centuries of poetry. Nevertheless, in ways that are sometimes surprising, the introduction and the arrangement of the essays permit a certain cultural-literary-historical narrative to emerge. Care has also been taken, where possible, to relate the poets discussed to the tradition of English-language poetry. The collection not only throws new light on some Polish poets whose work has already received attention in the English-speaking world, such as Czesław Miłosz and Tadeusz Różewicz, but also draws attention to others who deserve to be better known, including Wacław Potocki, Stanisław Herakliusz Lubomirski, Bolesław Leśmian and Jerzy Liebert. The final essay in the collection, a case study by the outstanding translator Bill Johnston of translation problems in relation to the contemporary poet Eugeniusz Tkaczyszyn-Dyck, leads into the short anthology which concludes the book. Here, the poets discussed or mentioned in the essays are represented by one or two poems, in most cases in a previously unpublished translation.
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