In Asymptote April 2012: ‘Mlle Lambercier’s Comb’ by Marek Bieńczyk, translated from the Polish by Agata Lisiak
If it were possible to erect a new monument to Jean-Jacques [Rousseau] today (for example, in Warsaw’s Skaryszewski Park), I imagine that it might take the form of the “Man of Glass,” L’Homme de verre, the statue that greeted visitors to the main hall of the Paris World’s Fair in 1937. Illuminated by a shaft of light from above, it reaches into this brightness with a glass hand that flows with artificial blood; it tenses its glass torso, in which one can count all the ribs; while the glass legs, with their tangled muscles and glass arteries, hold the trunk in a straight posture, firmly planted, yet ready to raise it lightly, even to launch it into the air.
In Asymptote January 2012: an excerpt from I Burn Paris by Bruno Jasieński, translated from the Polish by Soren Gauger and Marcin Piekoszewski
Eight jazz bands were scattered about the tight square between Rotonda and Dôme, their sharp cleavers of syncopation quartering the live meat of the night into chopped bars of entrails.
Soren Gauger and Marcin Piekoszewski publish an enticing extract from their upcoming translation of Bruno Jasieński’s masterpiece, I Burn Paris. Translated into English for the first time, this sinister and controversial vision of Parisian apocalypse shines a terrifying spotlight on the xenophobia and paranoia at the heart of the modern metropolis.
Also in Asymptote January 2012: Soren Gauger on Bruno Jasieński
Most of the greatest writers seem to have been born at the wrong time, but only a small handful of the truly odd ones feel as though they wouldn’t be quite at home – or embraced – at any time.
In this fascinating study of one of literature’s most controversial figures, Soren Gauger suggests that the true tragedy of Bruno Jasieński is not that he was killed for his Marxist beliefs, but that his political persona may in fact have been one big fiction after all.
[The image is of I Burn Paris’s fabulous Polish cover.]
Selected and Last Poems 1931-2004 by Czeslaw Milosz
translated from the Polish
Ecco Press (forthcoming, November 15, 2011)
We featured some of the ‘last poems,’ translated by Milosz’s son, and which have never before appeared in English, in the most recent issue of Asymptote; have a look!
Fundamentally there is nothing to be sorry about
you know this well Piotr
I’m not speaking to you but through you to others
for half a century you knew my thoughts better
than I did
you translated them patiently
on Cik Ljubin Street
in the white City
on a river now bleeding again
we carried on a long conversation
across the Alps Carpathians Dolomites
and now in my old age
I compose xenias
this is my xenia for you
I once heard an old man recite Homer
I have known people exiled like Dante
I saw all Shakespeare’s plays on stage
I was lucky
you might say born with a silver spoon
explain that to others
I had a wonderful life
(Zbigniew Herbert, addressing his translator
translated from the Polish by Alissa Valles)