by Grzegorz Wróblewski
translated from the Polish by Piotr Gwiazda
Release Date: April 11, 2017
This collection of poems from one of Poland’s major contemporary writers, Grzegorz Wróblewski, demonstrates his characteristic virtues: anthropological focus, objectivist detachment (though not without hallucinatory interference), minimalistic precision. But it also signals the presence of new elements. One of them is an extensive reliance on found language, the preferred mode of Anglophone conceptual writers, here acquiring a distinctly Eastern European flavor. Another is his candor, which teases readers with glimpses of his most private feelings. Bleak and terse, Wróblewski subjects his material to almost clinical treatment in order to better dissect and so understand the series of events that we call reality.
"Prolonged nudity as an enhanced interrogation technique. The Juice Probe that looks for life on one of Jupiter's moons. A wish to be reincarnated as a crab. The memory of something velvety. This is the realm of melancholic hilarity that Zero Visibility occupies: at moments hallucinatory, at other moments rooted in hard reality. Found language is collaged with the imaginative workings of a brilliant mind, and the result is revelation, both funny and tragic." —Sharon Mesmer
"This brilliant collection offers an elegantly translated Vergil for the conditions of zero visibility that seem inevitable as we try to make sense of the diverse threads constituting our lives. Disjunction for Wróblewski is the new condition for conjunction. It elicits 'enhanced interrogation techniques' because the lyric imagination seems at first grossly overmatched in its struggles to make sense of the pressures of reality. But the poems ask if we have been looking for conjunction in the wrong place, in how we produce names for the real rather than how our tones of voice and sheer desperation about making sense can be deployed in poetry to define a hope nowhere in evidence except in how we play on our ways of staging what is 'unbearable' about life. Wróblewski does this with remarkably complex humor that is bracingly dry and intricately satisfying." —Charles Altieri
Grzegorz Wróblewski was born in 1962 in Gdansk and grew up in Warsaw. Since 1985 he has been living in Copenhagen. He is the author of many books of poetry, drama, and other writings. As a visual artist, he has exhibited his paintings in various galleries in Denmark, Germany, England, and Poland. Several of his books have appeared in English, including Piotr Gwiazda's translation of Kopenhaga.
Piotr Gwiazda’s translation of Grzegorz Wróblewski’s Kopenhaga appeared from Zephyr Press in 2013. He has also published three books of poetry, Gagarin Street, Messages, and Aspects of Strangers, as well as two critical studies,James Merrill and W.H. Auden and US Poetry in the Age of Empire, 1979-2012. He teaches at the University of Maryland, Baltimore County.
Cover art by Grzegorz Wróblewski