"The poems are the work of a profoundly serious temperament and a professional translator of world into word"– Michael Salcman, Judge, Harriss Poetry Prize
Danuta E. Kosk-Kosicka brings to life in English the magical realism in the poetry and prose of Poland’s Lidia Kosk, entwining fairytale and real life, innocence of youth and instantaneous maturity, the horrors of war with the hope for peace. We are brought into a world unknown to many: rural Poland in the years immediately before, during, and after the Second World War. The audience learns of a girl’s upbringing and the lust for life that she developed even before she confronted genocide and totalitarianism. This project is a labor of love, of stories and knowledge passed on between women, and across generations – in this book, from mother Lidia Kosk, to daughter Danuta E. Kosk-Kosicka, and through her to the world at large.
Paperback: ISBN: 978-1-62720-233-6 Ebook: ISBN: 978-1-62720-234-3
|The Loch Raven||Baltimore Book Festival||Apprentice House|
Best Translation: Meadows of Memory
Poems and Prose by Lidia Kosk
Translated by Danuta E. Kosk-Kosicka
A woman, who is a poet, selects her mother’s work to translate from Polish, preserving the reality of a world immersed in World War ll, transforming events with imagination and memory.
Filled with lyricism and hard-won wisdom, this volume of poems and fable-like reminiscences of childhood and war boomerangs our way across decades and continents. What lands before us, “tossed like a prize,” is a marvel of beauty that testifies to the incorruptibility of the human spirit. Lidia Kosk’s pastoral portraits of “wind / horses / people,” deftly translated from Polish by her daughter, exist in the liminal space between dream and reality, where we go to steady our thoughts. Like the human breath or the “strokes of the church clock / from a faraway tower,” Kosk’s words “organize time” and in doing so shed light on the human condition, including the moment when “birds fall silent / the human voice softens.” If we, the readers who “look at the world from an upright position,” ever find ourselves at the spot “where the train tracks end,” let’s hope it’s with Meadows of Memory in our knapsacks.
—Piotr Florczyk, author of East & West, translator of Building the Barricade by Anna Świrszczyńska
These pieces, salvaged from the complexities of a life’s long journey, cross borders of time and space, landscapes and loves. Their narratives invite us to witness to the wonderful imagination of a child who later becomes an adult experiencing feelings that “stream in from faraway times/ Shadows… in the meadows of remembrance.” The works invite the question what is memory? as they “look at clouds like angel’s wings / Still laden with yesterday’s toils and tears.” From a childhood on distant soil, through confusion and grief, survival and love, these pieces track the travels of an indomitable spirit and demonstrate ways that memory serves us as a “shield against forgetting.”
—Michael S. Glaser, Poet Laureate of Maryland 2004-2009
Poet Danuta E. Kosk-Kosicka’s deeply moving latest book, Meadows of Memory, delights the mind, heart, and senses with its masterly Polish-to-English translation of her mother’s poems and stories dating from the start of what will be World War Two. Translation: 1. the act of putting words into a different language. 2. the act of moving a work from one form into another.
In Meadows of Memory: Poems and Prose by Lidia Kosk, Danuta E. Kosk-Kosicka has done both. As her daughter, Danuta knows Lidia’s voice intimately—how it sounds in their native Polish, how it sounds spoken aloud. How it means. Thus the poems and stories embody an intimacy and immediacy which take them to the second definition: the translation of Lidia Kosk’s voice into something the reader hears, feels, smells, touches. In the meadows is “a terrified bird” trembling “in the trapping hands,”a “hare’s terrified heartbeat.” Over summer meadows was “a burning in the sky” proclaiming “there will be war.” The two writers, mother and daughter, translate us directly—almost bodily—into those meadows’ terror and beauty.
—Clarinda Harriss, publisher of BrickHouse Books, Inc., author of Innumerable Moons
The unique poems and prose of Lidia Kosk are marked by a generational form of East European surrealism first introduced to Americans by Robert Hass and Charles Simic. Redolent with mysterious memories of her Polish childhood and a life lived in peace and turmoil (see “I Patted a Hedgehog”), her work freely mixes reality and imagination. She herself titles one poem “Dream or Not a Dream.” Her dreamscapes feel like fairy tales in which vegetation and animals, hares, pheasants, dogs, turtles, and frogs, horses especially, play prominent roles. Dissociation from the everyday is further heightened by the way she speaks of herself in the third person as “Lidia” or “the girl.” The punchy brevity, expert use of slant rhyme and line breaks, an almost uniform absence of punctuation, her aphoristic titles and brave endings, all serve to accentuate the power of her poems. And Lidia Kosk has the very good luck of being translated by her daughter, two poets genetically and stylistically linked.
—Michael Salcman, editor of the anthology Poetry in Medicine, author of A Prague Spring, Before & After
In Meadows of Memory Danuta E. Kosk-Kosicka shows a poet’s love and commitment, translating her own Mother’s stories and poetry from Polishto English. She opens a portal for Lidia Kosk to cast a spell of folklore, fairytale and imagined worlds. Creativity is beauty in truth, and Danuta E. Kosk-Kosicka makes another writer’s inner values and humanity wonderfully available. This collaboration, with Mother Lidia Kosk seen through a daughter’s prism, is realization and richness at once.
—Grace Cavalieri, The Poet and the Poem from the Library of Congress