Chicago Review

An international journal of literature, interviews, and reviews. For academic audiences.

Articles from Summer-Fall

An Examination of Conscience in Times of Change
Throughout its history, Polish literature has frequently distinguished itself by its capacity to express the collective voice of the Polish people. In the nineteenth century, when Poland was stripped of its statehood, works by Polish poets were perceived...
An Interview with Clare Cavanagh
Evanston, Illinois 18 July 2000 W. MARTIN: There are rumors that you are also a poet. Is this true? And do you consider translation to be a creative practice? CLARE CAVANAGH: Yes, and I'm not a poet. I'm a former poet. I feel like translating...
An Interview with Piotr Sommer
South Bend, Indiana, 7 May 2000 W. MARTIN: In your two line poem "Grammar," you write: "What was, one should speak of in the past tense, / what isn't in some other tongue." The second line strikes me as somewhat utopian. I'm wondering how you became...
ARE THINGS WORSE OR IS THIS NORMAL? POLISH POETRY IN THE 1990s
I can't shake my fear that there won't be enough room in this important periodical for my hasty perusals of ten years of Polish poetry. That said, it's hard to imagine that a topic this "hot," and this internally convoluted and vast, could fit into...
Brulion [1]
bruLion, pismo nosem, [2] a journal for the new generation, or, as the chief editor Robert Tekieli puts it, "the rough draft of our entire culture." The magazine was founded in a Krakow dormitory in 1986. The first issue was compiled by four people:...
Heart in Mouth
It is with my heart in my mouth that I set about an unceremonious description of those close to me: with my heart in my mouth and panic in my mind, for there's not much that I know. Truth to tell, I know only one thing: that before I finish this scandalizing...
Introduction
In 1989-90, Poland experienced a sea-change in every area of public life: in the reorganization of political power, in economic reform, and in the liberation of media and public discourse from politically-determined constraints. The immediate consequences...
Koehlerism [*]
Krzysztof Koehler's piece "O'Harism," in bruLion 14-15, was written in deadly earnest. And since the charges to be found in it concern my immodest person, it behooves me to respond to it. Which I will do. 1. The object of contention is a fragment...
My Grandfather Sigismund Kunat
In the photograph of my grandfather Kunat when he was six is contained, in my opinion, the secret of his personality. A happy little boy, youthfully sprightful, the bright and serene soul visible through his skin. The photograph comes from the...
O'harism [*]
If O'Harism is to be the fate of poetry in this new decade, then Marcin Swietlicki stands a chance of becoming the poet of our era's end. And yet, before that happens, I would like to take a moment to talk about one poem, "To Jan Polkowski," and in...
Polish Nobel Prize Winners in Literature: Are They Really Polish?
In October of 1996, after she had received the Nobel Prize in Literature, Wislawa Szymborska was hailed by certain Swedish newspapers as the fifth Polish winner of this Prize. This was a surprise for many Polish readers, since Szymborska was supposed...
Sejny, 1997
As we cross into the hilly countryside of this region, memory pushes up scattered fragments of those lines of the poet which, though read long ago and in entirely different circumstances, seem now to complete the view spreading out before us. "The...
Stairway to Heaven-Up and Down
In 1956 Zbigniew Herbert wrote the poem "From the Top of the Stairs," which he would publish only much later in Report From the Besieged City. This volume appeared in 1983 with an emigre publisher, and was immediately reprinted by one of the underground...
The Decade in Prose
Prose writing is always a bit slow to respond to events of historical magnitude. Thus it is not surprising that there was no sudden explosion of new authors or new artistic trends onto the Polish literary scene in 1989 or directly afterwards, despite...
The "Mythic Homeland" in Contemporary Polish Prose
The 1 990s were witness to significant changes on the literary map of Poland: new regions and new trends emerged as the old ones evolved. Undoubtedly, a central place in this changing topography was occupied by works that represented both a continuation...
Whose Turn Is It Anyway?
My brother-in-law at one point this summer asked me what I was working on and when I told him that I was translating contemporary poetry for an upcoming issue of an American journal, he asked, "Szymborska?" I told him that Szymborska was something...