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Katie is hosting this week's
Poetry Friday blog-roll.
Last month, I traveled to Salerno, Italy for a world poetry conference. For the next several Poetry Fridays, I am featuring poets from around the globe. Some of these poets are people I met in Salerno and others are part of the literary community here in central Maryland.
On Monday, I was at a reading to celebrate the launch of two news books by today's poet, Danuta E. Kosk-Kosicka. Her website is here.
|Monday night's reading was at LitMore.|
Danka came to the U.S. in 1980 from Poland on a postdoctoral fellowship from the Muscular Dystrophy Association. She writes in English, but also translates from Polish to English. One of her ongoing projects is translating the work of her mother, the Polish poet Lidia Kosk.
Two books at the same time?! This year has been an abundance of riches in Danka's writing life. First, her book Face Half-Illuminated was accepted by Apprentice House Books, our country's oldest student-run independent press. This is an unusual book, because it combines Danka's own poems and essays with her translations of her mother, the Polish poet Lidia Kosk. (A previous book, Niedosyt/Reshapings, is bilingual, and includes Lidia Kosk's poetry in Polish, side by side with Danka's translations.)
|Available from Apprentice House books.|
|A list of Harriss Prize winners is here.|
Danka reminded me that the two of us met in 2010, when my Harriss Prize chapbook Mountain, Log, Salt, and Stone was published. She and her husband attended the launch reading at CityLit Festival. We have been friends since then. I'm a fan of Danka's work and, as editor, have selected it to appear in one of my anthology's and multiple times in Little Patuxent Review.
Danka didn't start her career as a poet until later in life. She came to the U.S. to work as a biochemist, eventually doing research at Johns Hopkins in Maryland. Her arrival in America occurred just as a period of political upheaval began in Poland. Many of her poems express the history of war in Europe and political oppression in her native country that Danka and her family witnessed.
If you'd like to read more about Danka's fascinating background, you'll find my interview with her here.
Z okna mojego mieszkania
Nad domem naprzeciwko,
co oknami patrzy ku memu oknu,
zawiesił się księżyc,
wśród skał i kamieni z obłoków.
I wisiał długo, wytrwale,
aż zapomniałam, że z nim zerwałam
Aż zapomniałam, że w duszy
już tak dawno brak grania,
aż cała byłam z zapamiętania.
Translated by Danuta E. Kosk-Kosicka
From the Window of My Apartment
Above the apartment house,
whose windows exchange looks with mine,
the moon got stuck
among the rocks and boulders of clouds.
He kept hanging there, stubbornly,
until I forgot that I had broken with him
Until I forgot that my soul
did not sing anymore.
Until all of me was a song.
From Oblige the Light
Danuta E. Kosk-Kosicka
My Mother at Twelve
Minkowice, Poland, 1940
Hours of waiting at the bakery,
all my money for a last loaf of bread.
Now, cycling kilometers to hunger at home.
Near the hamlet where roads cross,
I see German soldiers rounding up people,
my friend Hana among them.
I jump off the bicycle, run toward Hana
with the still-warm bread. “Death for helping Jews,”
the soldier points his gun at my chest. I trip and fall;
a bullet wails.
When darkness lifts,I see trampled bread on the empty road.
Here is Danka reading one of my favorite poems of hers, "The Movie in My Head," at a Little Patuxent Review event. Please visit https://danutakk.wordpress.
In the World Poetry Series:
World Poetry: India, featuring Menka Shivdasani