STEVE ALMOND is the author of the story collections My Life in Heavy Metal (Grove Press, 2002), The Evil B. B. Chow (Algonquin, 2005), and God Bless America (Lookout Books, 2011). He is at work on a new collection.
DAVID BAKER’s latest book is Swift: New and Selected Poems (W. W. Norton, 2019). He is Poetry Editor of Kenyon Review and lives in Granville, Ohio. In “Nine Turkeys,” Baker draws from two poems: Linda Gregerson’s “De Magnete” from Magnetic Northand Jos Charles’s “IX” from feeld.
LESLIE BAZZETT’s fiction debuted in New England Review and received “Special Mention” in that year’s Pushcart Prize Anthology. Subsequent work has appeared in NER, Carolina Quarterly, West Branch, and Louisville Review, among other places. Her most recent story to appear in NER was listed as “Notable” in Best American Short Stories. She has been a finalist for a Rona Jaffe Award and the NER Award for Emerging Writers. She lives in Minneapolis with her husband, poet Michael Bazzett, and their two children.
MIRON BIAŁOSZEWSKI (1922–1983), born in Warsaw, clandestinely studied linguistics during World War II under the Nazi occupation, and was deported to a labor camp in Germany. A poet, prose writer, playwright, and filmmaker, he stretches the boundaries of language and linguistic conventions, focusing on the material world as a starting point for wider philosophical explorations. In addition to poetry, fiction, and plays, Białoszewski is the author of Memoir of the Warsaw Uprising, a landmark account of the tragic 1944 Polish uprising against the German occupation.
BORAI & KAHNE ATELIERS is a partnership between artists K. H. Kahne and Ahmed Borai, who began their collaboration in Berlin during the 1980s. Since the millennium they have been painting on newspaper, combining painting and poetry in a style they call the “Newspaper Art Novel.” The art on the cover of this issue of NER is from their series “European Capital Cities,” created in support of a peaceful European Union.
FLOWER CONROY, LGBTQ+ poet, is the author of the chapbooks Facts About Snakes & Hearts (Heavy Feather Review, 2014), The Awful Suicidal Swans (Headmistress Press, 2014), and Escape to Nowhere (Rain Mountain Press, 2011). Her poetry has appeared in American Literary Review, Prairie Schooner, Michigan Quarterly Review, and other journals. She is the current Poet Laureate of Key West, Florida.
JÓZEF CZECHOWICZ (1903–1939) was born in Lublin into a poor family. He studied pedagogy and worked as a teacher. Czesław Miłosz noted that his poetry, though unorthodox with regard to rhyme and meter, was in fact related to so-called “bourgeois lyricism” of the seventeenth century and to folk songs. Returning to Lublin after the outbreak of WWII, he died while visiting a barber shop, when the building was bombarded.
JEHANNE DUBROW is the author of seven poetry collections, including, most recently, American Samizdat (Diode Editions, 2019), and a book of creative nonfiction, throughsmoke: an essay in notes (New Rivers Press, 2019). Her eighth collection of poems, Simple Machines, won the Richard Wilbur Poetry Award and will be published by the University of Evansville Press at the end of 2019. She is an associate professor of creative writing at the University of North Texas.
GABRIELLE LUCILLE FUENTES is the author of The Sleeping World (Touchstone, 2016). She has received fellowships from Yaddo, Hedgebrook, the Millay Colony, and the Blue Mountain Center. Her work has appeared or is forthcoming in One Story, the Common, Cosmonauts Avenue, Slice, Pank, and elsewhere. She is an assistant professor at the University of Maryland. Gabrielle would like to thank Magdalena Zurawski for the foundation of this story.
JENN GIVHAN has earned NEA and PEN/Rosenthal Emerging Voices fellowships. Her most recent poetry collection is Rosa’s Einstein (University of Arizona Press, 2019) and her novel Trinity Sight is forthcoming (Blackstone Publishing, 2019). Her work has appeared in Best of the Net, Best New Poets, Poetry Daily, and many others. She lives near the Sleeping Sister volcanoes in New Mexico with her family, and can be found discussing feminist motherhood at jennifergivhan.com, Facebook, and Twitter @JennGivhan.
CARLOS ANDRÉS GÓMEZ is a Colombian American poet and the author of Hijito (Platypus Press, 2019), selected by Eduardo C. Corral as the winner of the 2018Broken River Prize. Winner of the Atlanta Review International Poetry Prize, Lucille Clifton Poetry Prize, and the Sandy Crimmins National Prize for Poetry, his work has appeared, or is forthcoming, in the Beloit Poetry Journal, Yale Review, CHORUS: A Literary Mixtape (Simon & Schuster, 2012), and elsewhere. Gómezis a graduate of the MFA Program for Writers at Warren Wilson College. For more, please visit www.CarlosLive.com
ANDREW GRETES is the author of How to Dispose of Dead Elephants (Sandstone Press, 2014). His fiction has appeared in Witness, Pleiades, Sycamore Review, Passages North, and other journals.
STANISŁAW GROCHOWIAK (1934–1976) is a representative of a group of poets who came of age during the Thaw period after Stalin’s death. They were attacked for “Turpism,” or their orientation towards the grotesque which was, in part, a response to the climate of political and literary repression in postwar Poland. At twenty-five Grochowiak became the editor-in-chief of the important Thaw journal Współczesność (The Contemporary Era) as well as subsequently working for numerous other publications including Nowa Kultura, Kultura, Poezja, and Miesięcznik Literacki.
MARILYN HACKER is the author of fourteen books of poems, most recently Blazons (Carcanet Press, 2019) and A Stranger’s Mirror (Norton, 2015),and sixteen books translated from the French, including Vénus Khoury-Ghata’s Where Are the Trees Going? (Northwestern, 2014).
JAMES GIBBONS HUNEKER (1860–1921) was a critic of music, art, and literature, as well as a fiction writer. His many books include Overtones: A Book of Temperaments (1904), Iconoclasts: A Book of Dramatists (1905), Egoists: A Book of Supermen (1909), and Ivory Apes and Peacocks (1915).
MARK IRWIN’s nine collections of poetry include A Passion According to Green (New Issues, 2017), American Urn: New & Selected Poems (1987–2014)(Ashland Poetry Press, 2015), Tall If (New Issues, 2009), and Bright Hunger (BOA Editions, 2004). He is the recipient of many awards for his poetry, including the Philip Levine Prize for his tenth book, Shimmer (Anhinga Press, 2020).
JAROSŁAW IWASZKIEWICZ (1894–1979), born in Ukraine, was associated with the Polish Skamander group along with Julian Tuwim, Antoni Słonimski, and Kazimierz Wierzyński. His work ranges from short stories, plays, and translations to studies on music. He remained in Warsaw during World War II and his house was a meeting place for underground cultural activities. After the war he was active in the cultural life of communist Poland and was a member of the Sejm of the Polish People’s Republic (PRL).
MIECZYSŁAW JASTRUN (1903–1983)was born in Korolówka in Galicia (present-day Ukraine) in 1903. During World War II he published poems in resistance publications. A poet of ethical concerns, he was also a specialist in Polish and German philology, and a translator of German language poetry. He died in Warsaw.
SARA ELIZA JOHNSON’s first book, Bone Map (Milkweed Editions, 2014), was selected for the 2013 National Poetry Series. Her poetry has appeared in Virginia Quarterly Review, Boston Review, Copper Nickel, and Salt Hill, among others, and nonfiction has appeared in DIAGRAM and AGNI. She is the recipient of an NEA Fellowship, a Rona Jaffe Foundation Writers’ Award, two fellowships from the Fine Arts Work Center in Provincetown, and the Philip Freund Alumni Prize from Cornell University.
ERIK HARPER KLASS has published stories in Canada (Quill Magazine, Ricky’s Back Yard) and England (Open: Journal of Arts and Letters). “The Promised Land” is his first American publication. He writes in Los Angeles.
ALISA KOYRAKH received her MFA in fiction from NYU and studied Comparative Literature at Barnard College. She lives in Chapel Hill where she is finishing her first novel.
BOLESŁAW LEŚMIAN (1877–1937) was born in Warsaw, but spent his childhood and youth in Kiev, where he studied philology and law. Initially unappreciated, he is now widely seen as one of Poland’s greatest poets. His famously “untranslatable” poetry is characterized by a coherent artistic and philosophical worldview—which draws both on folk traditions and philosophy, in particular Bergson—an emphasis on constant becoming, and by his unmistakable style, marked in particular by his prodigious gift for creating striking neologisms to express that vision.
ANGIE MACRI is the author of Underwater Panther (Southeast Missouri State University, 2015), winner of the Cowles Poetry Book Prize, andFear Nothing of the Future or the Past (Finishing Line, 2014). Her recent work appears inthe Journal, Southern Review, and Tupelo Quarterly. An Arkansas Arts Council fellow, she lives in Hot Springs. Find her online at angiemacri.wordpress.com.
T. J. MCLEMORE’s poems have appeared in 32Poems, Crazyhorse, Massachusetts Review, Willow Springs, and other journals. Individual poems have been featured on Poetry Daily, selected for Best New Poets 2018, and nominated for a Pushcart, and he has received awards and fellowships from the Sewanee Writers’ Conference, Boston University, and Crab Orchard Review. He is a doctoral student in English literature and environmental humanities at the University of Colorado Boulder.
MATTHEW NIENOW is the author of House of Water (Alice James Books, 2016). His poems have appeared in Beloit Poetry Journal, Crazyhorse, Poetry, and previous issues of New England Review. A 2013 Ruth Lilly Poetry Fellow, he has also received fellowships and awards from the National Endowment for the Arts, the Bread Loaf Writers’ Conference, the Elizabeth George Foundation, Artist Trust, and others. He lives in Port Townsend, Washington, where he makes a living as a designer and builder of wooden watercraft.
DAN O’BRIEN is a playwright and poet, a 2015–16 Guggenheim Fellow in Drama, and a 1996 graduate of Middlebury College. His play The House in Scarsdale: A Memoir for the Stage, excerpted recently in New England Review, received the 2018 PEN America Award for Drama. Dan O’Brien: Plays One was published in 2017 by Oberon Books in the US and the UK, and his third poetry collection, New Life, was published in 2016 by Hanging Loose Press in the US and CB Editions in the UK. He lives in Los Angeles with his wife, actor and writer Jessica St. Clair, and their daughter, Isobel.
MARIA PAWLIKOWSKA-JASNORZEWSKA (1891–1945), born in Kraków into an artistic and aristocratic family, was a poet and playwright. She was loosely associated with the Skamander group. Known as the “Polish Sappho,” her love poems are characterized by a novel naturalness and directness. Later she became more concerned with themes of transience, death, and nature. Eventually emigrating to England, she died in Manchester of bone cancer.
TADEUSZ PEIPER (1891–1969) was born in the Podgórze, now a suburb of Krakow. After a long absence in France and Spain, he returned to Krakow and founded the journal Zwrotnica (Railroad Switch). He was the first theoretician of the new poetry arising in response to that of the Skamander group. He rejected inspiration and emphasized the constructive role of the intellect. He coined what became a slogan for the new poetry, and for those inspired by him, the “three M’s”: metropolis, mass, machine.
JULIAN PRZYBOŚ´(1901–1970) is credited with the initiation in1922of the first Vanguard movement in Kraków (Awangarda Krakowska) that promoted the idea of a poetry characterized by concision, autobiographical restraint, and expression through images, and is understood to be a significant theoretician in the history of Polish poetry. During World War II his poems were circulated clandestinely. After the war he served for some years as a diplomat for the Polish People’s Republic in Switzerland, but broke with the party after 1956. He died in Kraków.
NANCY REISMAN is the author of the novels Trompe l’Oeil (Tin House Books, 2015) and The First Desire (Pantheon, 2004), a New York Times Notable book, and the story collection House Fires (University of Iowa, 1999), which received the Iowa Short Fiction Award. “Horse Seasons” is part of a new project entitled What the Videographer Missed. Her fiction has appeared in many journals and anthologies, among them Narrative, Tin House, Glimmer Train, Subtropics, The Best American Short Stories 2001, and The PEN/O. Henry Prize Stories (2005). She lives in Nashville and teaches at Vanderbilt University.
TADEUSZ RÓŻEWICZ (1921–2014), a poet, novelist, playwright, and screenwriter, was born in 1921 in Radomsko, Poland. He served in the underground Polish Home Army during World War II. Różewicz’s work is characterized by an uncompromising interrogation of language and life, which attempts to come to terms with existence after Auschwitz. As a playwright he was influenced by writers such as Beckett and Ionesco, as reflected in works such as Kartoteka (The Card Index). Termed by Czeslaw Milosz “a nihilistic humanitarian,” Różewicz died in Wrocław, Poland.
TOMASZ RÓŻYCKI is a Polish poet and translator. Born in 1970, he majored in romance languages at the Jagiellonian University in Kraków, and he teaches at the Foreign Languages Teaching College in Opole. His eleven books of poetry include, most recently, Letters (2016) and Bestiarium (2012). His powerful lyrical work has been nominated for or received numerous awards, including Poland’s Nike Literary Awardand Kościelski Award.
ANNAH OMUNE SIDIGU is a writer and songwriter currently residing in the Bay area. Her writing has appeared in Ninth Letter and in Kenyon College student literary magazines. She also writes reviews of poetry and prose books for Zyzzyva. You can listen to her music at annahsidigu.bandcamp.com.
ANDRZEJ SOSNOWSKI is a poet, translator, and editor of the journal Literatura na Świecie (World Literature). He studied English literature at the University of Warsaw. He has received numerous awards, including the Koscielski Foundation prize and the Silesius award. He has translated, among others, John Ashbery, Jane Bowles, Edmund White, and Ronald Firbank.
ANGELIQUE STEVENS’ nonfiction can be found in or is forthcoming in Booth Magazine, Cleaver, Chattahoochee Review, and a number of anthologies. Her essay “All the Grains of Sand” won the Solas Award for Best Travel Writing 2018 grand prize. She holds an MFA from Bennington College and finds her inspiration in wandering—being in places that push the boundaries of comfort, experience, knowledge, and hunger. She is currently writing a travel memoir about her trip to South Sudan and her experiences growing up in New York State.
ANNA ŚWIRSZCZYŃSKA (1909–1984)was born in Warsaw where she experienced the occupation and served as a military nurse during the 1944 Uprising, the subject of her famous cycle of poems, Building the Barricade. Her poetry addresses its subjects with uncompromising honesty and directness. She died in Kraków.
EUGENIUSZ TKACZYSZYN-DYCKI was born to a Polish father and Ukrainian mother in Wólka Krowicka, a village close to the Ukrainian border. His poetry is characterized by its distinctive mixture of raw autobiographical themes having to do with, among other themes, physical and mental illness, sexuality, and death. He is a recipient of the Nike Literary Award, among many others.
JULIAN TUWIM (1894–1953) was a major figure in twentieth-century Polish poetry. Born into a middle-class Jewish family, he studied philosophy and law at Warsaw University. He was one of the founders of the Skamander group of poets. From the beginning, he displayed a virtuosity with language and a scintillating wit. He also wrote a number of classic children’s poems, including “Lokomotywa” (“The Locomotive”).
DEVON WALKER-FIGUEROA is a poetry instructor at University of the Arts in Philadelphia, and resides in Harrison, New Jersey. Her poems have appeared in the Harvard Advocate, Tin House, Los Angeles Review of Books Quarterly Journal, and elsewhere. You can find her online at www.devonwalkerfigueroa.com.
ALEKSANDER WAT (1900–1967) was born in Warsaw into an observant Jewish family. His work is divided into two main periods: the early, experimental work as seen in I on One Side and I on the Other Side of My Pug-Iron Stove, written during his youthful involvement in the development of Polish futurism, in left-wing avant-garde circles, and his support of communism; and the later work, following his imprisonment in Poland and the former USSR, leading to a break with and an attempt to understand the system he had supported. He is also the author of an important work on the totalitarian experience, My Century.
ELLEN WELCKER’s books include Ram Hands (Scablands Books, 2016),The Botanical Garden (Astrophil Books, 2010), and several chapbooks, including The Pink Tablet (Fact-Simile Editions, 2018), which she and her co-conspirators made into a multi-genre live performance “feral opera” last year. She lives in Spokane, Washington.
KAZIMIERZ WIERZYŃSKI (1894–1969) was born in Drohobycz and was one of the co-founders of the Skamander group. At the start of World War II he fled Poland, traveling first to Paris, then to Brazil, and finally to New York. His early work was concerned with the exuberance of the inner life force, or the élan vital; later his work addressed themes concerning exile and patriotism. After twenty years in the United States Wierzyński moved to Italy, then finally to England. The poem “Trunk,” featured here in NER, reflects Wierzyński’s experience of exile.
GREGG WILLIARD’s fiction and nonfiction has appeared or is forthcoming in Wisconsin Academy Journal, the Collagist, DIAGRAM, Raleigh Review, Fiction International, and Adelaide Literary Magazine, among others. He teaches ESL at the nonprofit Literacy Network in Madison, Wisconsin.
RAFAŁ WOJACZEK (1945–1971) was born in Mikołowie. He briefly studied Polish literature at the Jagiellonian University in Krakow, but did not complete his studies, instead moving to Wrocław and devoting himself to writing. He struggled with alcoholism and depression, and after numerous attempts, committed suicide. Only two volumes of his poetry were published during his lifetime.
JAKOB ZIGURAS was born in Wrocław, Poland, in 1977. His family emigrated to Australia in 1984. His debut collection, Chains of Snow (Pitt Street Poetry, 2013), was shortlisted for the 2014 Prime Minister’s Literary Award. His second collection, The Sepia Carousel, was published in 2016. He has translated Jan Kott’s Kaddish: Pages for Tadeusz Kantor (Seagull Press, 2019) and Marcin Kurek’s book-length poem Oleander (winner, in 2010, of the prestigious Kościelski Award). He is currently living in Poland, working on his third poetry collection, Venetian Mirrors, and translating various Polish poets.