“Mount Przehyba” by Artur Nowaczewski, translated from the Polish by Daniel Bourne with art by Wojciech Kołyszko

 

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“Photograph of Road Next to Levee of Vistula River,” by Wojciech Kołyszko

Mount Przehyba

to go out of today is like to go out of a dream
Stary Sacz, its market square and cobblestone, fields and forests of spruce,
and a trail always uphill, and uphill
one rest stop after another the day climbing to evening,
the contour lines of hours circling closer to the top
to go in order to go some more, from day to day and dawn into night
to sleep inside the tent made up of stars to sleep
inside the chirp of crickets and of weariness, to go on,
in the first of the mountains are the other mountains beyond it
in the first of stories dwell the next beginnings 
we go to that place from which postcards are sent and someday
I will travel there alone, on my boots to transport the dust
I vow to speak about myself, to wrap the road around me,
to make my smallness large and to declare my largeness small

both of us meeting each other in the night


Przehyba 1989

dzisiaj jest to wyjście jak ze snu
Stary Sącz—rynek, kocie łby, pole, świerkowy las,
a ścieżka wciąż w górę i w górę
raz po raz odpoczynki. dzień wspina się
do wieczoru, poziomice godzin na szczyt—
iść żeby iść—z dnia na dzień, od świtu po noc
i spać w gwieździstych namiotach, spać
w cykaniu świerszczy i w zmęczeniu. iść.
w pierwszych górach są wszystkie następne
w pierwszych opowieściach zawierają kolejne
początki. jedziemy tam skąd się przysyła pocztówki
też kiedyś będę jeździł sam, na butach przywoził kurz
opowiem siebie, owinę się szosą
z małego zrobię się duży, z dużego powiem się mały

obaj spotkamy się nocą

✶✶✶✶

Artur Nowaczewski and Daniel Bourne in Gizycko, Poland

Artur Nowaczewski, born in 1978 in Gdańsk, teaches at the University of Gdańsk in the Institute of Polish Philology. He has published three collections of poems, Commodore 64, Elegia dla Iana Curtis [Elegy for Ian Curtis] and Kutabuk, along with two memoirs, Hostel Nomadów [The Hostel of Nomads], a finalist for the prestigious Angelus Prize for Central European writing, and Dwa lata w Phenianie [Two Years in Pyongyang], about North Korea, 1989-1991, where he attended a Soviet middle school at the very end of the Communist era in Poland. He is also the author of two books of literary criticism, Trzy miasta trzy pokolenia (Three Cities Three Generations) and Szlifibruki I flâneurzy (Loafers and Flâneurs). Other translations of his poetry by Daniel Bourne appear in Chattahoochee Review, Lake Effect, and the U.K. on-line journal The High Window.

Daniel Bourne’s books of poetry include The Household Gods and Where No One Spoke the Language, and his poems have appeared in numerous journals, including Another Chicago Magazine, Ploughshares, GuernicaAmerican Poetry Review, and Field. Since 1980 he has lived in Poland off and on, including in 1985-87 on a Fulbright fellowship for translation and, most recently, in Fall 2018. His translations of Polish poets have appeared in such journals as Field, Salmagundi, Shenandoah, Partisan Review, Colorado Review, and Virginia Quarterly Review. He has also recently received a fellowship from the Polish Ministry of Culture for work on a translation of a novel, The Month Between the Hammer and the Sickle, by Polish writer Stanisław Esden-Tempski, whose poetry in translation he has previously published in ACM.

Wojciech Kołyszko is a noted Polish book illustrator and visual artist. Twice he was awarded the Polish Association of Book Publishers Award for the best art book of the year, and his book covers include separate illustrations for the Polish and English versions of Nobel Laureate Czesław Miłosz’s 1996 collection of poetry, Nad brzegiem rzeki (Facing the River, translated into English by Miłosz and Robert Hass). More recently, he has concentrated on publishing a wide range of art books, interactive computer texts, and books for children, emerging as a pioneer in terms of interactive nature and art education. Since 2003, he has lived on the Island of Sobieszewo on the Baltic Coast just to the east of Gdansk. In the U.S., his artwork has appeared in Artful Dodge and in a poetry/visual art collaboration with Daniel Bourne, “A Deep Map of Sobieszewo Island,” which appeared on the Portland Review’s website in January 2019.