Friday, April 13, 2012

Sarmatian Review

One of my favorite periodicals focusing on Polish and Polish Disapora issues is The Sarmatian Review edited by Professor Ewa Thompson of Rice University.  Each issue contains information about Poland, its culture and history, and its traditions.  There are other journals that promise the same thing, but Editor Thompson has a lively sense of what will be interesting to her readers and she never disappoints.

The current issue starts out with a data sheet: census info about the current Polish population (38.3 million) with stats about how many Poles have a post-secondary education 17.5 % and what the urban vs. rural breakdown looks like (59.6% vs. 40.6%).

This is followed by a fine article on the Polish heritage of Republicanism by the Polish scholar and poet Krysztof Koehler.  Prof. Koehler discusses the long history of republican democracy in Poland and how it has shaped Polish consciousness.

His piece leads to a series of reviews of books by excellent scholar/writers on the relationship of Scotland and Poland, the politics of Polish peasant parties, and the works of poets Bogdan Czaykowski, Andrzej Busza, and Tadeusz Rozewicz.

These last mentioned poetry reviews signal what I find most appealing about this journal.  Ewa Thompson has a decided inclination toward literature, and I find that the reviews she commissions are always first rate and stimulating.

The journal's interest in literature in the current issue is also signaled by an excerpt from a prose translation of Adam Mickiewicz's Pan Tadeusz by Christoper A. Zakrzewski and a poem by 19th Century Polish Poet Teofil Lenartowicz translated by Barbara Witak.

I've been a subscriber to The Sarmatian Review for many many years and always read it with the kind of interest I have when I'm reading the New Yorker.  It's that good

Current and back issues of the journal are available at its website.  You can get there by clicking here.

1 comment:

Dawn Potter said...

Hello, John-- So good to find your blog, and thanks for visiting mine. You might be interested in my mother's chapbook, Psalm in Time (Finishing Line Press), which includes a number of poems about Polish Americans in the 40s and 50s. Presently I am working on a history in verse of the Chestnut Ridge region of southwestern Pennsylvania, which saw a huge influx of Polish immigrants at the turn of the 20th century. Many of them worked in the mines and the coke furnaces that fed the Pittsburgh steel industry. Primary source materials from that era are fairly easy to find, but one thing I'd like to know more about is the details of their music. Do you have any suggestions?