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FRANKENSTEIN’S CHILDREN
I’M HALF OF YOUR HEART: Selected Poems 1967 – 2017
TERRIBLY IN LOVE: Selected Poems
Songs for a Dead Rooster
WHAT DOES NOT RETURN
CARIBOU
I’M HALF OF YOUR HEART: Selected Poems 1967 – 2017  
|
  Julian Kornhauser
|
  Edited & Translated from the Polish by Piotr Florczyk

ISBN 978-0-9991994-2-8    $18.00     5.5 x 8.5   210 pp   SEPT 2018    Featured Poetry





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In more than seventy poems gathered in I’m Half of Your Heart: Selected Poems, 1967-2017, we encounter a poet who is as politically outspoken as he is lyrically private. Fascinated by the quotidian bric-a-brac, keenly attuned to the plight of the less fortunate among us, and immersed in timeless philosophical, historical, and aesthetic peregrinations, Julian Kornhauser remains our contemporary by speaking loud and clear about what it is that makes us human. This career-spanning volume provides readers in the English-speaking world with the largest ever selection of poems by one of Poland’s premier poets.

Reading I’m Half of Your Heart, Selected Poems: 1967-2017, one follows a poet’s vision for fifty years, witnessing the unfolding of his intelligence, humor, and religious attention to the ordinary items of our shared world. The title of the book comes from a poem set almost center, and although one assumes it to be the poet speaking to the one he loves, perhaps even the reader, it becomes even more intimate as we discover it is literally half of his own heart speaking. “I’m half of your heart/that beats from time to time, usually early morning . . . I’m made up/of two unequal parts: of laughter, when/I open my eyelids, and of sadness , when/I close them.” In the manner of Ponge or Herbert he enters the objects of our world and causes them to shine. The poems are often paratactic in structure, as one can read in “The Golden Bridge,” where through playful and brilliant luminosity the speaker himself lifts and flies above his poem, noting the whole history of place from prison, shotguns, cannons, and chatty drunks, to the jewel box of Chinatown and the small porcelain figurine in an antique shop. This telescopic vision of history focused through its microscopic particulars is the gift of Kornhauser’s vision, and Piotr Florczyk, his translator, brings great elegance and clarity to the page, as well as to the order of the poems. Creating an organic design from the poet’s body of work he closes with “Eternity/people die/ivy grows/mallows release a scent/eternity short as a song/an unfinished song.”

 —Sandra Alcosser, author of A Fish to Feed  All Hunger

“It’s hard not to be astonished,” Julian Kornhauser writes of a paper bag filled with wind and caught in a tree’s limbs—a metaphor perhaps of “fragile” aspirations. A peer of Adam Zagajewski, Stanisław Barańczak, and Ryszard Krynicki, Kornhauser emerged as a central figure of the Polish Generation of ‘68—those whose hope for a new liberal order had “a short breath.” Young, progressive American readers, frustrated by the reactionary nationalism of our own cultural revanchist moment, will find in these finely attuned translations by Piotr Florczyk, a wise, tough-minded ally.

—David Axelrod, author of Folly

 FrontCover

About the Author

Julian Kornhauser

Julian Kornhauser, born in 1946 in Gliwice, is a Polish poet, prose writer, literary critic, essayist, translator, and professor emeritus of Slavic languages and literatures at the Jagiellonian University in Kraków. One of the most prominent representatives of the New Wave or Generation ’68 literary movement, he was active in underground political activities during the Communist period and signed the “Letter of 59” against changes to the Constitution of the People’s Republic of Poland that would see the country align closer with the USSR. He has won many awards for his numerous and varied literary output, including the Kościelski Foundation Award (1975), the European Poetry Award (1989), the Award of the Association of Polish Translators (1997), the Karski Eagle Award (2015), the Wroclaw Silesius Poetry Award for lifetime achievement (2016), and the Balaton International Poetry Award (2017). He lives in Kraków.

 

CHANGELESS CHANGE

everything changes and I run to you
still the same
everything changes and children are dreaming
dreams over and over
changing is what doesn’t change
always the same and never
too far from what’s slipping away
and too near to what’s near
you know how to say the unspoken
though I walk straining yet unable to hear
everything changes after it’s been changed
for good evil and for evil good

—Julian Kornhauser