Wednesday, October 1, 2014

Polish Poet Wins Fifth Annual Harriss Poetry Prize

Danuta E. Kosk-Kosicka was named winner of CityLit Press's fifth annual Harriss Poetry Prize for her chapbook manuscript "Oblige the Light."

Born and raised in Poland, Kosk-Kosicka is a scientist, bilingual poet, writer, poetry translator, photographer, and co-editor of the literary journal Loch Raven Review.

Her poems have appeared in the U.S.A., Ireland, Sweden, and Poland in numerous literary journals and anthologies, including The Baltimore ReviewBeltway Poetry ReviewEllipsis: Literature and ArtInner Art JournalInternational Poetry ReviewLittle Patuxent ReviewMobiusPassagerPirene's FountainPivotRufous SalonSpillwayTheodateVan Gogh's EarAkcent, as well as Stranger at Home: Anthology of American Poetry with an AccentThy Mother's Glass, and Weavings 2000: Maryland Millennia/Anthology.

Her translations of poems by three Maryland Poets Laureate-Lucille Clifton, Josephine Jacobsen, and Linda Pastan have been published in Poland; her translations of poems by Lidia Kosk, Ernest Bryll, and Wislawa Szymborska have appeared in over 50 publications in the U.S.A. 

She is the translator for two bilingual books of poems by Lidia Kosk:   niedosyt/ reshapings and Slodka woda, slona woda/Sweet Water, Salt Water, the latter of which she has also edited. 

Launched in 2009, the Harriss Poetry Prize is named in honor of Clarinda Harriss, eminent Baltimore poet, publisher, and professor of English at Towson University. Harriss, educated at Johns Hopkins University and Goucher College, is a widely published, award-winning poet and, off campus, serves as editor/director of BrickHouse Books, Inc., Maryland’s oldest literary press.

Here is one of the poems from this prize-winning collection:

In the Background the Waltz from Doctor Zhivago

In a movie scene a train
Like a toy—in whose hands?—
            Runs on a white plain, sways,
Jerks on the tracks
            Pursued by a plumed snake.

Where, where, where, where, where, where
            A land rolled out for play—
Who, who, who, who, who, who…

The ones who packed themselves
Fifty to a freight car with a choking stove
            May have had enough force
To thrust through the thick pane
Of the dry frozen universe
            And see yellow flowers above
            The blades of grass.

The unlucky ones in the strangling
Arms of the army with red stars
            Had no chance—packed in freight cars
Thrown in the hollows
In the Katyń forest.
Clots on their bulleted heads,
Tied hands, blindfolded words
Thaw in the spring
            To freeze again
Over and over
            To not forget.

Where, where, where, who, who, who
            Scatters dead flowers, turns
Earth into a crippled toy planet...  

First appeared in International Poetry Review


To read more of Danuta’s work here at Writing the Polish Diaspora, please click on the following link.  It will take you to her essay about translating and a number of her own poems and her translations from the Polish of poets Szymborska and Lidia Kosk.