Note: This broadside is part of our annual translation special feature in which we feature two broadsides—one from a forthcoming publication from Tavern Books, one by a poet writing in a language indigenous to the Americas.
Do you see an overlap between the act of translation and the act of responding visually to a piece of literature?
Artist Kate Baird: Yes—I think that, generally speaking, making images is a form of translation that takes an idea/intuition/thought and turns it into a material thing.
Why Anna Świrszczyńska? How does translation fit into your creative life?
Translator Piotr Florczyk: Anna Świrszczyńska’s work teaches us to say less and mean more while we aim to make sense of ourselves and the world we live in. Translation, the ultimate act of close reading, helps me be a better reader and poet.
Why this poem?
Artist Kate Baird: I like things that appear to be straightforward but are not. I also like things that are straightforward. This poem struck me as both.
Read any good books lately?
Artist Kate Baird: I had fun reading The Folded Clock, by Heidi Julavits.
Translator Piotr Florczyk: I read all the time. Alice Fulton’s latest poetry volume, Barely Composed, is a gem.
Seen any great art lately?
Translator Piotr Florczyk: When I was in Kraków this past July, I saw an exhibit of paintings by Andrzej Wróblewski (1927-1957). I can’t get it out of my head!
Artist Kate Baird: There’s a Richard Kalina print up at the art museum where I work that I’ve been looking at with groups of fifth graders. They see storms, moons, coins, and patterns…and help me see a little more every time.
Note: Broadsided has Vectors everywhere, and poetry and art speak across cultures, bridging and enlarging them. The very nature of an artist responding to a visual work is an act of translation. To deepen this awareness and conversation, we began offering regular translation features at Broadsided in 2012. In 2014 we refined that vision to this mission: In the Broadsided Translation Feature, our mission is to showcase poets of the American Continents writing in their Indigenous/First Languages. Broadsides of poems with translations and art are published alongside interviews with the poet and artist that invite discussions of process, interpretation, and nuance. In addition, photos of the broadsides shared in public spaces within the poets’ and artists’ communities show how poetry and art, as part of our daily lives, can create awareness and understanding, deepen connection to other cultures, and broaden our literary communities.