The Forgotten Keys
Zephy Press, 2007
By Tomasz Różycki; translated from Polish by Mira Rosenthal
Tomasz Różycki belongs to a group of outstanding poets from Silesia, a region in Poland that bears the mark of a distinct mixture of cultures. Many families were relocated to the region in a forced migration after World War II, and shifting borders have likewise added influences from Germany and other neighboring countries. Through translations of a selection of poems from Różycki’s five collections of poetry in Polish, as well as a critical introduction, The Forgotten Keys marks his debut in English and acquaints readers with a distinctive and formidable Polish writer. Unlike other contemporary Polish poets who clearly reject the heavy historicism of Czesław Miłosz and Zbigniew Herbert, Różycki claims such influence, exploring both personal and collective memory.
Praise for The Forgotten Keys
“‘Personal’ for Różycki means also transpersonal; the persona of his poetry holds the memory of an entire family or tribe, or perhaps even of society in general. And there’s no mockery here. Różycki’s poetry is serious, a private response to the historic moment. Without a doubt, a vital new poet has emerged from the Polish language.” —Adam Zagajewski, from the Foreword
“Born of parents who were forced to immigrate from Lwów (in what is now Ukraine) to the western border of Poland, Różycki, now 41, writes with the divided sensibility bequeathed by that compelled family resettlement… Although the past is a constant theme in Różycki’s work, the present erupts with no less urgency… Now to wait for the next book by a selfless translator attempting the impossible.” —Helen Vendler
“Even an informal skimming of this books confirms that Różycki is a talent to cherish, and reading him in the chronological arrangement chosen by the translator allows us to trace the poet’s development… [He] has the talent, stamina, and imagination to entertain and move even the most seasoned reader.” —Piotr Florczyk, West Branch