14.04.2020 Literature

Jacek Dehnel: Saint Paul, Boston, NYC

Events in Saint Paul, Boston, and New York with co-author Piotr Tarczynski and translator Karen Kovacik

Saturday, December 1, 2018 – Thursday, December 6, 2018

Following his appearance at the New Literature from Europe Festival in New York, Jacek Dehnel will be touring three major US cities to promote Aperture, his first full-length poetry collection in English translation, as well as the translation of his novel Lala.
Joining him on the tour will be acclaimed translator Karen Kovacik and Dehnel’s husband and sometime co-author Piotr Tarczynski. They will discuss Dehnel’s poetic and prose works, including he and Tarczynski’s forthcoming series of historical crime novels.

In Aperture (Zephyr Press, 2018), the poet brings his fascination with formal poetry to 21st century subjects ? internet culture, science, postmodern architecture ? even as he also explores intimacy, gay love, and emotionally-charged objects in this bilingual (Polish/English) collection. Dehnel’s range of style and diction includes poems based on the classic Polish thirteen-syllable line and intricate rhyming stanzas, to prose poems and freer lyrics. “My restlessness… is one of my strongest traits?that insatiability for places, books, paintings, people,” he says. Karen Kovacik seamlessly renders these poems into beautiful English.

Lala (OneWorld, 2018) is a lyrical and moving Polish family saga set against the turbulent backdrop of twentieth-century Europe. Lala has lived a dazzling life. Born in Poland just after the First World War and brought up to be a perfect example of her class and generation – tolerant, selfless and brave – Lala is an independent woman who has survived some of the most turbulent events of her times. As she senses the first signs of dementia, she battles to keep her memories alive through her stories, telling her grandson tales of a life filled with love, faithlessness and extraordinary acts of courage. Sweeping from nineteenth-century Kiev to modern-day Poland, Lala (in a superb translation by Antonia Lloyd-Jones) is the enthralling celebration of a beautiful life.
To wrap up the tour, on December 6 at Poets House in New York City, Dehnel will be joined by award-winning translator Bill Johnston for a joint discussion of the Polish epic tradition. Johnston’s new translation of the Polish national epic, Pan Tadeusz by Adam Mickiewicz, was published this fall by Archipelago Books. Johnston will discuss the epic in Polish history and the challenges of his translation. Dehnel will discuss contemporary epics, such as Tomasz Rózycki’s Twelve Stations (Zephyr Press, 2015, tr. by Bill Johnston) and Dorota Maslowska’s Other People, and his own Chopin’s Heart.

Jacek Dehnel (b. 1980) is the author of seven collections of poetry, seven works of fiction and four book-length translations, including works by Philip Larkin, F. Scott Fitzgerald and Edmund White. He has been awarded the prestigious Koscielski Prize (2005) and the Polityka Passport Prize (2006), and he was nominated five times for the Nike literary prize and once for the Wislawa Szymborska Award (2014). His English publications include Saturn (Dedalus Europe, 2013) and Lala (Oneworld Publications, 2018), both translated by Antonia Lloyd-Jones, and the poetry collection Aperture (Zephyr Press, November 2018), translated by Karen Kovacik. Dehnel is also known for his series of mystery novels set in turn-of-the-century Kraków, co-written with his husband, the translator and historian Piotr Tarczynski. The first of these, Mrs. Mohr Goes Missing (Tajemnica Domu Helclów in Polish) is forthcoming in English translation by Antonia Lloyd-Jones.

Karen Kovacik is a poet and translator of contemporary Polish poetry. Her books include Metropolis Burning, with many evocations of cities at war; Beyond the Velvet Curtain, winner of the Stan and Tom Wick Poetry Prize; and Nixon and I. Her translation of Agnieszka Kuciak’s Distant Lands: An Anthology of Poets Who Don’t Exist, longlisted for the 2014 National Translation Award, is available from White Pine Press, and in 2016, White Pine published Scattering the Dark: An Anthology of Polish Women Poets, edited and selected by her. Her translation of Dehnel’s Aperture is published this fall by Zephyr Books. Kovacik is Professor of English at Indiana University Purdue University Indianapolis (IUPUI), where she teaches creative writing and American poetry. Her work has been honored with the Charity Randall Citation from the International Poetry Forum, a Fulbright Research Grant to Poland, and a Fellowship in Literary Translation from the National Endowment for the Arts.

Full Tour Details:

Saint Paul, MN
Saturday, December 1
Moderated by Minneapolis Star-Tribune reporter Chris Serres, with translator Karen Kovacik and co-author Piotr Tarczynski
SubText Books
6 West 5th Street
4pm – 6pm
Click here for more info
Co-presented by the Polish American Cultural Institute of Minnesota

Boston, MA
Monday, December 3
Moderated by Ewa Hryniewicz-Yarbrough, with translator Karen Kovacik
Trident Booksellers and Cafe
338 Newbury Street
7pm – 9pm
Click here for more info

New York, NY
Thursday, December 6
Epic Voices: The Polish Epic with Jacek Dehnel & Bill Johnston
Poets House
10 River Terrace
Click here for more info

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Scheduled Literature