Experiences

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
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
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
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
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
The Trickster from Prague
Art + Stories
Experiences

The Trickster from Prague

There are countries in the world where an artist like David Černý would have long been in prison—or worse. But in the Czech Republic, this creator with no respect for all that the nation holds sacred is celebrated as the country’s most famous contemporary sculptor.  
Stach Szabłowski
Bug Beauty
Art + Stories
Experiences

Bug Beauty

Let’s look for creatures that crawl, jump and walk on long legs not only in the tall grass, but also on the canvases of old masters.
Michał Książek
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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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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April in Brwinów
Art + Stories
Experiences

April in Brwinów

Zbigniew Mikołejko
April like a lovely flame this year
wants to save us with forsythia prayers
and plucks the heavens as lightly as strings.
To our wounds it presses tiny leaves.

This is the body’s season, fragile, unholy,
trembling before each crush of air,
each ghost that capers in the distance.

Spring is killing us—
it kisses us on the lips.



Author’s comments:
As a child, I felt wounded by early spring. The season had an obvious delicacy and allure, but in a way that intensified instead of diminished its agony, especially in my native Warmia—a northerly Baltic territory known for its penetrating cold and its constant, merciless wind. Even though everything seemed to grow back, to spring to new life, death held sway: called us by our name, haunted body and spirit, grabbed us by our throats. Not for nothing, our ancestors had their feast of the dead in the spring. And now, of course, it’s when Holy Week occurs for Christians, when the overwhelming silence and empty tomb are meant to offer proof of resurrection. This poem appears in my book Teraz i zawsze (Now and forever) (Instytut Mikołajewski, 2022).
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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

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
Two Poems
Art + Stories
Art

Two Poems

“You impregnated me and I gave birth to pearls. / Authentic. Look.” Two poems by Anna Świrszczyńska (Anna Swir) about an older woman’s Eros.
Anna Świrszczyńska
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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Obligations
Art + Stories
Experiences

Obligations

Jacek Dehnel
On the far side of the lake, the shattered pane of an ice floe,
closer in waves like soft streaks, one by one
docking near the shore,
then setting out from shore.
Later I watched as a heron skimmed over that icy pane,
doubled, mirrored,
both real and reflected,
reflected and real:
that day I did nothing,
yet I did everything necessary.



Author’s commentary:
The poem is pretty self-evident. Let readers take it in and figure out what’s going on. But beneath what’s universal in it, there’s something more prosaic and individual. When, for a long period, I was unable to finish a book of poems, another poet encouraged me—since I had a fellowship to Berlin—to work on poetry there instead of prose. I had always believed that poems come when they want to, but this time it was a matter of attitude, of making a habit of observing reality. In a month’s time, I had more than a dozen poems, including this one, and that Berlin notebook filled out my collection Najdziwniejsze (The strangest).
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