Pass it On
Independent of nothingness, let us pass on
the sky-high writing of the clouds,
let us pass it from mouth to mouth.
Ryszard Krynicki, one of Poland’s most important contemporary poets, was born in a labour camp in Sankt Valentin (Lower Austria) in 1943. Since the 1960s, when he became known as one of the poets of the New Wave, Krynicki has been associated with the democratic opposition in Poland. As a result he was subjected to censorship and then banned completely from official publication between 1976 and 1980, although he continued to publish with unofficial presses and , in the case of Our Life Grows (1978), with the Paris émigré press Kultura. After working for years as an editor in underground publishing and running a private art gallery with his wife, Krystyna, in their Poznań apartment, he founded the influential publishing house a5 in 1988; from the start, the press focused on contemporary Polish poetry, including the works of Wislawa Szymborska, Adam Zagajewski, and many younger poets. Krynicki is also renowned as a translator of German-language poets, including Nelly Sachs and Paul Celan. A recipient of many prestigious literary awards, he was most recently awarded the Zbigniew Herbert International Poetry Prize in 2015. He lives in Krakow.
Our Life Grows
New York Review Books