“In the Space of Nieszawa” by Artur Nowaczewski, translated from the Polish by Daniel Bourne with art-poem by Wojciech Kołyszko

“Florau” by Wojciech Kołyszko

In the Space of Nieszawa

The famous descent to the Vistula in Nieszawa,
the street like a downspout to the river,
a car door slams, and then the quiet
lifts upon the water, June, but throughout Nieszawa
it’s so quiet you can hear the formations of the flies,
even in their wings this sleepiness,
the backwaters of the afternoon,
in the foyer of a church, upon the iron bars

Spacja Nieszawa

słynny zjazd nad Wisłę w Nieszawie,
ulica stromizną wpadająca w rzekę.
trzask drzwi samochodu i cisza
nad wodą, czerwiec, ale w całej Nieszawie
tak cicho, że słyszysz zawiesinę much
–nawet w ich skrzydełkach
spokój, rozlewisko południa —
w przedsionku kościoła, wobec krat.



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.