Magazine article World Literature Today

Lodzia Jest I Przystania

Magazine article World Literature Today

Lodzia Jest I Przystania

Article excerpt

Anna Frajlich. Lodzia jest i przystania. Szczecin, Poland. Forma. 2013. isbn 9788363316365

In July 2001 Anna Frajlich wrote in her poem "New York": "This city is mine / and I belong to it / in the crystalline air / we sail along the shores / is it beautiful? Never mind / what matters is that it is a boat / and a station." For the poet, New York is a canyon, a bus stop, an island, a mystical place scarred by the destruction of the Twin Towers on September 11, 2001, that created "a painful column of fire / a bitter fog" ("The Taller Towers"). From the newfound safety of this place, the poet navigates the multiple shores of her life and creates her own palimpsestic, whimsical, and poignant map. Thus New York sails to unknown destinations; the eastern borders of Poland dance to and fro, playing tricks on people's identities, and California becomes a blank spot on the map when a friend there dies.

Readers familiar with Frajlich's work will delight in her light touches of language, memories, impressions, and thoughts that capture luminous details on the private and public surface of her life. They will also recognize the deep resonances of these evocations. The juxtaposition of the casual and the sublime is intriguing: a golden key opens Dante's dark forest; market vegetables become one of Cézanne's still life paintings; Damocles's sword looms over cherry blossoms; Hans Christian Andersen's sleepless princess writes the tale of her sister, the little match girl. Tragedy is never far: Daphne changed into a tree trembles with frustration; fire consumes people, books, and Prometheus's liver, then and now. …

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