posted in poland.

i'm back in poland for the summer. still getting excited about things. and thinking about them. and taking pictures. this is where i'll share.
not missing michigan.  happy “spring” break.

not missing michigan.  happy “spring” break.

Maciek Szymczuk

—Hotel Ukraina

having spent so much time this week following the events unfolding in kiev and thinking about those in ukraine, i was happy to see this story on culture.pl outlining a number of ways poles are expressing their support for and solidarity with ukrainians fighting for the future of their country.  PL2UA — a compilation of tracks from independent musicians produced to support humanitarian efforts in ukraine — stood out as a really awesome project and one i was happy to support.  i’m still making my way through the over 80 tracks, but maciek szymczuk’s “hotel ukraina” is an early favorite.

could polish ski jumpers be any more wonderful?
kamil stoch (TWO gold medals!!) and adam małysz. 
i love them.
(photo from here)

could polish ski jumpers be any more wonderful?

kamil stoch (TWO gold medals!!) and adam małysz. 

i love them.

(photo from here)

their remarks flowed tirelessly, remarks following upon anecdotes, philosophical musings upon personal observations…. each one, listening to the other, rediscovered forgotten parts of himself. and although they had passed the age of naive emotions, they both felt a new pleasure, a kind of blossoming, the charm of affections newly born….their meeting, then, took on the significance of a great adventure. from the start, they were bound to each other by hidden threads. besides, how can we explain why any two people hit it off? why is a certain peculiarity, a certain imperfection, indifferent or baneful in one person but enchanting in someone else? what we call ‘love at first sight’ holds true for all sorts of passions.

—"bouvard and pecuchet," g. flaubert (trans. mark polizzotti).

A Foreigner's Guide to Polish Literature

my guide to polish literature is up on culture.pl today!  

there’s a lot going on here (warszawa).

there’s a lot going on here (warszawa).

you touch the language — and it seems
to you softer than soft.
even when a word is pronounced differently
— its essence remains ours.

at the beginning, like this: as if a woeful horseshoe
is being bent in your hands
and then suddenly — language! language!
a foreign one — sounds to me like my own.

because it isn’t just a language, not just sounds
not just the coldness of a dictionary
— in these, work, sweat, and sufferings are heard
— that sense of a single family.

in these, a forest murmurs and a flower blossoms,
the joys of the people ripple.
one can hear one common thread that runs through them,
from antiquity through today.

—"the feeling of a single family," p. tychyna (trans. taras koznarsky & marta baziuk).

forever marked.

image

occasionally when wandering around warsaw, i’d come across these markers of the former boundaries of the warsaw ghetto.  in a city full of historical markers, i found these particularly powerful — a reminder that the streets that are now so cheerful and open were not too long ago divided.  

a plaque above the marker offers a brief history of the warsaw ghetto.

warsaw moves on, but doesn’t forget.

wake & make (warszawa).

wake & make (warszawa).

money mural.

i passed this mural on al. jana pawla II one evening on the tram and knew i wanted to come back and take a closer look.  it’s HUGE and its use of currency symbols alongside the military images is pretty cool.

the euro symbol merges with the image of a sickle on the soldiers rappelling down the building.

i love the way the mural incorporates the features of the building.  

open window. open mouth.  very cool.

in this place.

image

the bunker at miła 18 was the headquarters of the jewish combat organization, a resistance group in the warsaw ghetto.  on may 8, 1943 nazis attacked the bunker as they worked to crush the ghetto uprising.  though some of the almost 300 people inside escaped, leaders of the movement chose to remain underground, where they committed mass suicide rather than surrendering.  their remains were not exhumed and after the war the place became a place of remembrance.    

image

in 1946, a mound (anielewicz mound) — built from the rubble of destroyed homes — was erected on the site.  memorial stones commemorate the sacrifice of mordechaj anielewicz and the ghetto fighters.

image

a peaceful spot of remembrance.  

image

here they rest, buried where they fell, to remind us that the whole earth is their grave.

the poet’s print.

image

walking along the wisla by wawel i came across “trace,” designed by aleksander janicki as part of 2011’s milosz year celebration.  i don’t remember having seen the installation when i was in krakow during milosz year, but i’m happy to have come across it this summer.  it features an enlarged cutout of milosz’s thumb print with metal letters collected in the box underneath.  very cool.

and i think YOU are (warszawa).

and i think YOU are (warszawa).

kazimierz. the great.

image

this AWESOME statue of kazimierz the great appeared at the foot of wawel sometime over the summer.  i neglected to get any details about it and it seems like it might be temporary (it’s not metal, but some kind of lighter material), but it’s certainly a welcome addition to the already wonderful wawel/wisla area.  krakow’s the best.