Monday, January 7, 2013

2 Photos of Dzvinia Orlowsky

                                                                       Dzvinia and Nancy Mitchell
                                              (Photo by Nancy's husband, filmmaker John Ebert) 

                                                    Dzvinia with a falling strand of holiday lights
                                                                             (Photo by Alan Britt)

                                             Dzvinia Reading from her latest: Silvertone

3 Poems by Mieczysław Jastrun

(trans. by Dzvinia Orlowsky and Jeff Friedman from the original Polish)

At the Table

Once light struck eyes,
mind rehearsed the splendor of diamonds.
Gardens awoke, breath.

So it seemed that in every conversation
we traveled over avenues,
and through the opening of the park.
Small price to pay
for hope, and with hope came sleep,
a call from the distance—light for toys.

But today when she took a seat at the table,
the vision remained fixed—
her blue eyes full of frozen water,
around us, decanters.


Saskia gives me a red carnation
in vain—
no hands to hold it.
So many eyes here—   
blue green black,
many hands—
fresh wrinkled digested.
Learn from the flower —
those eyes and hands have died.
But she still holds the red carnation
so it can live a little longer.

I Found Them in a Dream

I found them in dream,
but didn’t know it,
because they had changed.

The dream gave me
a sixth sense, new eyes
to see the massacre,

the operative logic—
how they squeezed
through narrow streets,
arms bloody.

The bullfinch descended
in its black and white feathers
witness to the crimes—

red plots,
a burned clearing.

Mieczysław Jastrun was born as Mojsze Agatstein in 1903 in Korolowka, Austria-Hungary (now Ukraine) and died in 1983 in Warsaw, Poland. A lyric poet and essayist of Jewish origin, he published a dozen volumes of poetry most often on the subjects of philosophy and morality between the two World Wars and is considered to be one of the most important Polish poets of this time period. He also translated French, Russian, German poetry into Polish. His work is included in Postwar Polish Poetry: An Anthology selected and edited by Czesław Miłosz.

Jeff Friedman’s fifth collection of poetry, Working in Flour, has recently been published by Carnegie Mellon University Press. His poems, mini stories, and translations have appeared in many literary magazines, including American Poetry Review, Poetry, 5 AM, Agni Online, Poetry International, Prairie Schooner, Antioch Review, Quick Fiction, Nighttrain, The 2River View, North American Review, Boulevard, and The New Republic. A contributing editor to Natural Bridge, he teaches at Keene State College in New Hampshire.

A Founding Editor of Four Way Books and Pushcart Prize recipient, Dzvinia Orlowsky is the author of four poetry collections published by Carnegie Mellon University Press including her most recent, Convertible Night, Flurry of Stones, co-recipient of the 2010 Sheila Motton Book Award. Her first collection, A Handful of Bees, was reissued in 2008 as a Carnegie Mellon Classic Contemporary and her translation from the Ukrainian of Alexander Dovzhenko’s novella, The Enchanted Desna, was published by House Between Water Press in 2006. She teaches at the Solstice Low-Residency MFA in Creative Writing Program of Pine Manor College and currently as Visiting Poet at Providence College.  Her new collection, Silvertone is forthcoming from CMUP in February, 2013.

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