Polish Poetry Unites is a new video series for anyone interested in literature, history and reading. In each episode Edward Hirsch, a distinguished American poet, and the president of the Guggenheim Memorial Foundation, will introduce a celebrated Polish poet to American audiences.
One might say that the Polish–American poetic connection started with the epistolary friendship of Adam Mickiewicz and Ralph Waldo Emerson in the 19th century, and the Polish Poetry Unites series’ animated title sequence is inspired by this fact.
In the spirit of this 19th century poetic friendship, Adam Zagajewski and Edward Hirsch, close friends, organized several bi-national meetings of poets in Cracow at the beginning of the 21st century. At one of those meetings, Ewa Zadrzyńska, director of the Polish Poetry Unites series, met Edward Hirsch and Robert Pinsky, the creator of the Favorite Poem project, and thus the idea of the Polish Poetry Unites video documentary series was born.
Each episode of Polish Poetry Unites video series conceived by Ewa Zadrzyńska and Bartek Remisko consists of two parts. The first part is Edward Hirsch’s short video essay about a featured poet. The second part is a short film in which contemporary Poles talk about the significance of poetry in their lives, while presenting poems by the featured poet. The short films presented in each episode were produced by Ewa Zadrzyńska and had been broadcast by Polish National TVP2 from 2006 to 2013.
In the Polish Poetry Unites series, Edward Hirsch, the author of the national bestselling book: How to Read A Poem And Fall In Love With Poetry, explains why Americans should read these celebrated Polish poets:
Episode 1 (April 2022):
Cyprian Kamil Norwid (1821-1883)
Episode 2 (May 2022):
Tadeusz Różewicz (1921-2014)
Episode 3 (September 2022):
Krzysztof Kamil Baczyński (1921-1944)
Episode 4 (January 2023):
Zbigniew Herbert (1924-1998)
Episode 5 (February 2023):
Anna Świrszczyńska (1909-1984)
Episode 6 (March 2023):
Julian Tuwim (1894-1953)
Episode 7 (June 2023):
Wisława Szymborska (1923-2012)
Episode 8 (October 2023):
Adam Zagajewski (1945-2021)
Episode 9 (December 2023):
Zuzanna Ginczanka (1917-1944)
Polish Poetry Unites video series, which aspires to bring Poland and the US closer together through poetry, will be continued. Its mission is to show how much we all have in common when we talk about poetry. Three new installments of the series presenting Polish poets, their poems and life stories of people from different walks of life, lightened by poetry, are currently underway. Stay tuned and see you all soon for new episodes.
Moderator: Edward Hirsch
Director: Ewa Zadrzyńska
Cinematography: Jacek Mierosławski
Editor: Anna Jędrzejewska
Executive Producer: Bartek Remisko
Edward Hirsch is an American poet and critic who wrote a national bestseller about reading poetry entitled How to Read A Poem And Fall In Love With Poetry published in 2014. He has published nine books of poems, including The Living Fire: New and Selected Poems (2010) and Gabriel: A Poem (2014), a book-length elegy for his son that The New Yorker called “a masterpiece of sorrow.” He has also published five prose books about poetry. His latest book of essays, 100 Poems to Break your Heart was published in 2021. He is president of the Guggenheim Memorial Foundation in New York City. Currently he is finishing a book of essays called The Heart of American Poetry. It will be published in April to mark the fortieth anniversary of the Library of America. The book consists of deeply personal readings of forty essential American poems. It rethinks the American tradition in poetry. Ed Hirsch lives in New York City.
Ewa Zadrzyńska is Director, Writer, and Founder of Poetry Unites America. Her Poetry Unites series was produced for the Evens Foundation and was broadcast on Polish, national television for 8 years. The films focus on literature and reveal the similarities between people by using the harmonizing power of poetry. By offering intimate insights into the mind of another person, it contributes to mutual understanding beyond national, religious, and political divisions. In 2015, Zadrzyńska brought Poetry Unites to the United States and has since produced and directed four 30-minute films: Poetry Unites New York, Poetry Unites Kansas, Poetry Unites Kentucky, and Poetry Unites Alabama which is premiering in 2022.Poetry Unites America was inspired by the US Poet Laureate Robert Pinsky’s Favorite Poem project, yet it has developed into an educational program with the production of half an hour documentaries devoted to selected states. Ewa Zadrzyńska published two children’s books about art in the United States and numerous articles in the New York Times, Newsday, and many Polish publications. Her memoir, Noah’s Ark of Manhattan will be published by Marginesy the Publishing House in Poland in 2022.
Lead image: The Parnassus (1511) by Raphael: famous poets recite alongside the nine Muses atop Mount Parnassus. Image source: Wikipedia.