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Monday, February 15, 2010

Ewa Lipska: [Poetry] arises from solitude.

A Poetry Daily Prose Feature:

Lipska’s rejection of nationalism is consistent with her vision of the artist's role in society. She would argue that the poet does not craft a work out of sheer will or calculation; rather, art depends on an innocence rooted in a fidelity to personal experience, an authentic response to one's life that is lost in politics, or any other highly organized, artificial social system. The solidarity of poets, unlike that of political regimes, or of activists organized against them, is not a matter of design. Poetry is not collective life. It arises from solitude; it cannot be planned. Lipska thinks of art not only as a rejection of political intention but also as a deliberate engagement with the irrational and with uselessness."

Robin Davidson, Introduction to The New Century

Read it all at

For example:


I'd like to live Elsewhere.
In hand-embroidered towns.

To meet those
who are not born into the world.

At last we would be happily alone.
No stop would wait for us.

No arrival. No departure.
Evanescence in a museum.

No wars would fight for us.
No humanity. No army. No weapon.

Tipsy death. It would be fun.
In the library, multivolume time.

Love. A mad chapter.
It would turn the pages of our hearts in a whisper.


I like you a twenty-year-old poet writes to me.
A beginning carpenter of words.

His letter smells of lumber.
His muse still sleeps in rosewood.

Ambitious noise in a literary sawmill.
Apprentices veneering a gullible tongue.

They cut to size the shy plywood of sentences.
A haiku whittled with a plane.

Problems begin
with a splinter lodged in memory.

It is hard to remove
much harder to describe.

Wood shavings fly. The apple cores of angels.
Dust up to the heavens.

Ewa Lipska
translated from the Polish by Robin Davidson and Ewa Elżbieta Nowakowska

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