The Gabo Prize for Literature in Translation & Multilingual Texts
Issue 8: Winter/Spring 2016
by Anna Piwkowska, Translated by Iza Wojciechowska
Special Guest Judge, Tony Barnstone
The best thing that translation can do is to extend the possibilities of writing in your home language. These translations of the Polish poet Anna Piwkowska bring over to English some absolutely gorgeous poems, but even more, they naturalize to English an aesthetic that is not native, and in the process they make English richer and make the possibilities for writing in English larger. How unexpected is the snap of a branch and the sudden vision of a small blot of dimmed magic in the pupil’s darkness in the violent woods. How gorgeous is the rising moon, laying its silver across our bones, eyes, and sockets. How surreal and emotional evocative are the bows sawing silver cellos in the sky. These are lovely poems, and they leave the reader with that hungry greediness that comes from eating something so delicious that you are left wanting more and more.
Dr. Tony Barnstone is a poet, translator, essayist, and the author of sixteen books, including Monster Verse: Poems Human and Inhuman (Everyman’s Library Pocket Poets, 2015), Beast in the Apartment(Sheep Meadow Press, 2014), and, most recently, Pulp Sonnets (Tupelo Press, 2015).