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Everything to Measure

by Julia Hartwig

translated from the Polish by John and Bogdana Carpenter


Oh no—paradise is not disheveled nature
bearded unkempt pines shrubbery branches
blue-black colonies of berries
looking out with eyes of a hunted deer
Paradise is a garden
where everything is to measure
joy but not wildness
not despair but melancholy
It is the victory of order

So what if on gravel paths
you sometimes hear approaching steps
above which a body had no time to take shape

 

Julia Hartwig occupies a prominent place in the Polish literary landscape. She has been awarded numerous prizes in Poland, France, and the United States, including the Jurzykowski Prize and the Thornton Wilder Prize from the Translation Center at Columbia University, and the Austrian Georg Trakl Prize for poetry. Hartwig has translated many American poets into Polish. She has also translated poetry by Apollinaire, Rimbaud, Max Jacob, Cendrars, Supervielle, and Henri Michaux, and published studies of Apollinaire and Gerard de Nerval.

John Carpenter is a poet and critic. Bogdana Carpenter is a professor at the University of Michigan in Ann Arbor, currently chair of the Slavic Department. They have translated many volumes of the writer Zbigniew Herbert, among other works; they are preparing a collection of Julia Hartwig’s poetry with the working title In Praise of the Unfinished. (10/2006)


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