Colonies

by Tomasz Różycki
translated from Polish by Mira Rosenthal
(Zephyr Press, 2013)

Colonies2014 Oxford-Weidenfeld Translation Prize FINALIST

2014 PEN Award for Poetry in Translation Longlist Selection

2014 Griffin Poetry Prize FINALIST

2014 Northern California Book Award WINNER

2013 World Literature Today Notable Translation

2010 “Top Quark” Prize in Arts & Literature WINNER

2009 National Endowment for the Arts Fellowship Recipient

2008 PEN/Heim Translatin Fund Grant Recipient

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Tomasz Różycki’s sixth book of poetry, Colonies, is an exploration of collective memory in fiercely exacting poems. The seventy-seven sonnets that make up the book, each with a title that brings to mind ninteenth-century travel narratives, give a feel for the poet’s obsession with form and fixation on the historical legacy of Central Europe—preoccupations that have fueled his work from the beginning and marked him as a true successor to an extraordinary literary tradition. Różycki has developed a distinctive personal poetic voice that both embraces and questions the literary legacy of poets writing in the twenty-first century.

Praise for Colonies:

“Virtuosic translations of a moving Polish sonnet sequence about place and the past.”—Judges citation, Oxford-Weidenfeld Translation Prize

“There is fearlessness in Różycki’s work which is magnetic. He speaks his truth, the truth of a man in permanent exile.”—The Quarterly Conversation (read the full review)

“Różycki, through Rosenthal’s clean and stunning translations, succeeds at giving an American audience a new perspective in a constantly changing world.”—California Journal of Poetics (read the full review)

“In Mira Rosenthal’s translation of Colonies, English-speaking readers can themselves confront the sonnet as something supple, fresh and a little bit strange.”—Judges citation, Griffin Poetry Prize

“Tomasz Różycki’s Colonies is one of the most remarkable sonnet sequences of our time: the work of a wandering, restless, and moral mind, here rendered with clarity and vividness by the translations of Mira Rosenthal.”—Susan Stewart, Princeton University

“In Tomasz Różycki’s lyric profusion, I hear the sharp blasts of a mordant intellect, but not without the human notes of an infinite melancholy playing in the background. This is the soundtrack of a valiant mind, a layered imagination that nonchalantly apprehends and formally measures the tarnished world in demotic language such that it enchantingly restores simplicity and bewilderment to our existence.”—Major Jackson, author of Holding Company

“Różycki’s voice searches for words that would capture the world—capture it now, today, this very moment, our world, so uncertain about its future, and so deeply bogged down in its past. His escape is an escape from history, though reluctant, because it would leave Polish poetry behind. This is where he has his real roots, in a tradition he repels and embraces in every poem.”—Irena Grudzinska-Gross, author of Golden Harvest: Events at the Periphery of the Holocaust