Krystyna Miłobędzka, one of Poland's leading and most innovative poets, was first published in 1960; her early volumes were singled out by Stanisław Barańczak for their "dramatic ungrammaticalness", as they speak about elementary human relationships - between woman and man, mother and child - "in a language that is 'being thought'." Her prose poems, rooted in the body and earth, reveal an immediacy of expression, "seemingly uncontrolled, reporting the birth of the yet unspecified thought: a sentence broken off, a sudden mental leap, an ellipsis, a slip of the tongue."
Nothing More, Miłobędzka's first full-length book in English, samples her entire career. Here her kinship with the world, a unity in multitude, is reported in imperfect jottings, with "words broken in half broken to quarters". Commenting on her sparse diction, the poet explains: "I think it would be best if each writer could invent their own language to write down the very little they have to say. Only the necessary words."
Elżbieta Wójcik-Leese invents her own translated language to convey Miłobędzka's experimental poems into English. More "collaborations" than translations, according to Robert Minhinnick in his introduction to this book, they are "the fruits of an exemplary literary symbiosis."
Three essays by the translator in which she discusses the details and motivations of her work on this book:
- Elżbieta Wójcik-Leese on Krystyna Miłobędzka's "exactly the forehead..."
- Table and Beyond
- Birds of a feather? Anecdotes, sketches and Polish poems in English translation
An examination/reinterpretation of one poem from this collection by Vahni Capildeo: Nine Variations on Krystyna Milobedzka
978 1906570 62 0 (pbk)
978 1906570 63 7 (hbk)
Page count: 128
Published November 2013