Art + Stories

The Wallpaper That Killed the Emperor
Art + Stories
Experiences

The Wallpaper That Killed the Emperor

Green is the color most commonly associated with life. Yet, the color of vibrancy and growth has a darker, more malicious side to it.
Szymon Drobniak
NADA Villa Warsaw: The Voice of New Art
Art + Stories
Experiences

NADA Villa Warsaw: The Voice of New Art

Newest contemporary art exhibition at the marvellous Gawroński’s Villa in Warsaw.
Maria Kozak
Francesca Woodman: Intimacy
Art + Stories
Experiences

Francesca Woodman: Intimacy

The American photographer known for her blurry black-and-white pictures was active for just several years, and her poetic and provocative work is only now receiving the recognition it deserves.
Julia Fiedorczuk
Maria Prymachenko: An Artist for Our Times
Art + Stories
Art

Maria Prymachenko: An Artist for Our Times

For most of the world, the word Chernobyl brings gloomy associations, yet Maria Prymacheczenko’s “Chernobyl” series bursts forth with color and energy. We present the story of most famous Ukrainian painter.
Kacha Szaniawska
A Community of Festivities
Art + Stories
Experiences

A Community of Festivities

In our everyday lives, we must play assigned roles in society. But, when our excess energy becomes too much, we must break from those strict roles—this is where festivities come in.
Maciej Świetlik
Program Yourself to Be Happy
Art + Stories
Experiences

Program Yourself to Be Happy

Optimists live longer, are more self-confident, and deal with stress more effectively. Pessimists can also learn to be optimistic, but it takes some practice.
Jowita Kiwnik Pargana
Staying in the Black
Art + Stories
Art

Staying in the Black

For the impressionists, the color black was the black sheep of the art world, but looking at the entire history of painting, it should really be considered the dark horse.
Karol Sienkiewicz
A Celebration of the Feast
Art + Stories
Experiences

A Celebration of the Feast

Throughout history, shared meals and sacred celebrations have been integral to our social fabric. They are part of what makes us human, providing a timeless link to that which is sacred. 
Łukasz Modelski
Carnival
Art + Stories
Fiction

Carnival

Let me tell you what happened to me during Carnival . . .
Matthew Coachinger
In Black and White
Art + Stories
Experiences

In Black and White

Unrecorded knowledge is fleeting knowledge. However, while recognizing the merits of writing, we should also acknowledge that human experience extends far beyond the confines of written language. 
Paweł Majewski
Female Lion Tamers
Art + Stories
Opinions

Female Lion Tamers

In the space of the last hundred years, there have been five outstanding female photographers who have immortalized both famous people and the disappearing worlds of the Czech provinces. As it turns out, none of them took up photography by accident.
Agnieszka Rzonca
Pink Doesn’t Exist
Art + Stories
Experiences

Pink Doesn’t Exist

Pink is a little like the famous pipe in René Magritte’s picture: it somehow exists, but still it doesn’t. Makes sense, right?
Szymon Drobniak
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PRZEKRÓJ Foundation

PRZEKRÓJ Foundation wants to provide thrills that result in sparks of conscious growth. In addition to funding the magazine, we engage in art projects, performances, films, festivals, workshops, and exhibitions, where we regularly meet our Readers. We want to help others foster a fuller, more conscious relationship with themselves and the world.

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Poetry

A Poetic Hurricane
Art + Stories
Opinions

A Poetic Hurricane

The American poet Amanda Gorman recently made headlines with her poem at Joe Biden’s inauguration. Her work promises an exciting future.
Bartosz Wójcik
An Introduction to Anna Świrszczyńska’s Warsaw Uprising Poems
Art + Stories
Experiences

An Introduction to Anna Świrszczyńska’s Warsaw Uprising Poems

Anna Świrszczyńska’s poetry undertakes a feminine revision of one of the most tragic events in Polish history, remaining timeless to this day.
Julia Fiedorczuk
Love Poem
Art + Stories
Experiences

Love Poem

Jacek Szafranowicz
he handed me a revised version
of my love poem
asking with surprise
what the word katyush was doing
in a love poem

I responded with surprise
that I didn’t understand
the question
he asked with a smile
what I meant to imply
by the word
katyush

I responded with a smile
that it’s like
a drop of fire
derived from the melting
of plastic

Could it be—he asked with a smile—
that a typo slipped in
since for instance
katyusha
is a Soviet rocket launcher
also known as
the Organs of Stalin

I answered with a smile—
no way

what a strange situation, I thought

how in a poem
of love
between the description of you
and my declaration
the word katyush appeared

did that love
have anything in common
with war or collapse
or devastation

walking back
I thought quite long about the word
but I couldn’t find any
other
to replace it

I walked a long while

I remembered the way

but everything in that poem
made sense after all



Author’s commentary:
Gdańsk, back in 2006. It was winter and cold as hell. From the shitty neighborhood Dolny Wrzeszcz, I arrived in the Old Town and pretty soon I was walking down the steps to one of the underground restaurants they have over there.

I felt awkward. I wasn’t a peasant, but I had never met anyone in a restaurant to talk about poetry either. However, a well-known poet—Antoni Pawlak—had invited me for drinks. That didn’t feel normal, either. I mean, once before he’d invited me to his house to talk over a bottle of whisky. That sounded nice, and I accepted. At the end of that meeting, he decided that my poetry should be seen. And so, I published my first group of poems in Migotania, Przejasnienia (Flickering, brightening).

Back to the restaurant. It was still that wonderful period when you were able to smoke inside, so we greeted each other, sat down, and lit up. Antoni began to look through the poems I had sent him earlier by email. The waiter brought us whiskey and beer. I was feeling confident—a young punk like me, I had a publication to my credit!

Antoni looked through the new work and at one point he paused. “It’s a great piece about love but are you sure there isn’t a typo with that katyush?” he asked.

And I replied, “No.”
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Grandma suddenly remembers
Art + Stories
Experiences

Grandma suddenly remembers

Aglaja Janczak
Sitting in the garden, she sorts through seeds
of well-known plants, maybe animals,
though just as easily she could dream up
all these species,
and we’d accept that they exist.

Even with fingers gnarled as branches,
she pulls, sorts, and weaves
abundant threads, life forms, sequins,
plump fleas.

Suddenly she recalls a poem from primary school,
then a second, a third, and proud, she declaims in a flash,
grabs the slick tongue of memory,
smiles teasingly:
“You see? I remember.”

In her voice, the opening to Pan Tadeusz gets written anew,
every text takes on fresh colors, her gabbing gives off sparks
—maybe that’s the source of grandma’s feral
mottled skin, mimic
of generations.

Her freckled arms snuggle a whole hemisphere,
her healing hands marshal a meal:
“Smear it with butter, not a knife!” Abracadabra—
and unhealthy turns into something
healthy.

Steady as a fieldstone in the sun,
she remembers:
“Someone knocked on the window again at night,
so somebody died. But not me!
I’m right here, after all, I’m talking, and there’s still
so much to do.” She sits in the garden on a stool
as if in a trance. Murmurs covert counting-rhymes. Pulls
from the earth lengthy, lengthy, never-ending reins.



Author’s commentary:
This isn’t the first poem in which my Grandma Stasia has appeared. Staying with her in her village I realized that I have this persistent, iconic image of her in my head, while in fact, she is ever changing, especially since she turned eighty. And even though she’s still energetic, has a playful spark in her eyes, and jokes around, she is quickly shrinking, and it’s as if her spirit is detaching from her body. She doesn’t always hear us. We see the change most in terms of her memory—we repeat various things to her, and she forgets that we’ve already talked about them. Or we see it in her hands, which want to accomplish so many things, yet they’re turning into “wood.”

I’ve written about moments in which “grandma suddenly remembers,” and in a flash of illumination, she pulls from a deep well a true vividness, the fluidity of the world, as if she were bringing back that former order and feeling of safety. “Hey, it’s not the end!” . . . Who is this person, present through my entire life, who has influenced so many other lives?

I’m so proud of her. I imagine someday she’ll turn into an enduring tree that will talk to us and continue to shelter us.
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