Danuta E. Kosk-Kosicka

"The poems are the work of a profoundly serious temperament and a professional translator of world into word"– Michael Salcman, Judge, Harriss Poetry Prize

Face Half-Illuminated

Face HalfThe book comprises the work of Danuta E. Kosk-Kosicka across a range of media: her own poems and essays, as well as her translations of the Poland-based poet Lidia Kosk (who is also her mother). The poems share themes and speak to each other across geographical and generational barriers. Lidia Kosk survived both World War II and the Communist regime that the Soviet Union introduced in Poland after the war; it was then the martial law imposed by that regime in 1981 that decided that her daughter would settle permanently in the States. In the essays, Danuta E. Kosk-Kosicka reveals how she, a scientist who arrived in the USA on a postdoctoral fellowship in biochemistry, has over the years turned to writing and translating poetry. The book is a set of meditations on history, family, identity, and border-crossings—for countries, languages, and senses of self.

Apprentice House Press, Loyola University Maryland, February 2015

ISBN 978-1-62720-045-5

“These are luminous writings. They touch on memory and presence, they bridge cultures and generations, they point always toward our shared blessings. The powerful and well-crafted works in this collection show the fruits of a life lived fully, attentively and gratefully. How delightful to discover a publisher and a book that embrace several genres under the same cover so that an author’s work can explore many facets of human expression. The final essay on translation is perhaps one of the most important and insightful essays written on that subject and will serve well both translators and those who read works in translation.”
—Michael Glaser, Poet Laureate of Maryland, 2004-2009

“Danuta E. Kosk-Kosicka’s writing is irresistibly irresistible. At once a biochemist and a poet, at once Polish and American, at once dreaming of the past and living in the present, she offers us her own poems and translations of poems written by her mother, the Polish poet Lidia Kosk, that hook us immediately. Whether Ms. Kosk-Kosicka is writing about what happened in Poland during World War II or what’s happening on the Beltway, whether she’s speaking of her love for translating or the beautiful dance of the globes in a city square in Mexico, she speaks with a lush precision and love of words that draws us into her world.”
—John Z. Guzlowski, Author of Lightning and Ashes

“What these poems of mother and daughter share: their sensory aliveness, a vision illuminated by beauty and darkened by war, and painful longing for a childhood home and a world at peace.”
“In Your Voice My Name,” my favorite of Danuta’s translations, is a deceptively simple lullaby of longing in which mother and daughter are one infant, safe for a moment in the memory of a mother’s voice.”
—Mary Azrael, Poet and Editor of Passager

“In 1980 a young scientist comes to America from Poland—from behind the iron curtain. Today, this poet lives among us, and translates poems to hold fast to her life and those of her loved ones. Danuta E. Kosk-Kosicka sets out to recapture the iconography of her life here, and in Poland. She writes her poems in English, also translating her mother’s work in a compelling range of poems. This is a personal and historical conversation, through imagery and cadence, communicating memories and beliefs. There’s a strong will at the center of each poem that, with the benefit of translation, affords new versions of existing poems. Translating is a beautiful obsession, and this poet speaks of her achievements in an essay that makes her unique artistry legible. She proves to us in prose and verse that, with a rich heart, anything is possible.”
—Grace Cavalieri, Poet and Producer of “The Poet and the Poem from the Library of Congress”

“The ‘face half-illuminated’ to which the title of this book alludes is that of a Polish poet and scientist who has embraced the light and promise of a new country without ever relinquishing the past and the shadow cast over it by the Nazi occupation of Poland. Danuta E. Kosk-Kosicka embodies that which she most desires, ‘the power to expand this hour.’ She revisits her youth and young womanhood in Poland and, beyond that, the preceding generation, as revealed in her translations of poems by her mother, the poet Lidia Kosk. Propelled by the need to retrieve the ‘knapsack of memories’ left behind by those who did not survive this turbulent period in Polish history, mother and daughter join voices in this luminous collection of poems and essays—a must read for anyone who either knows or wants to understand what it means to live in two worlds.”
—Sue Ellen Thompson, Poet and winner of the 2010 Maryland Author Award

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One comment on “Face Half-Illuminated

  1. Patricia Bejarano Fisher
    June 13, 2015

    Well-deserved praise for your beautiful poetry, so rich in history, culture, suffering and happiness and love of life. I especially liked Grace Cavallieri’s “translating is a beautiful obsession” – I know it is.

    Liked by 1 person

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