Been and Gone, a bilingual volume that includes a foreword by Adam Zagajewski, presents a selection of Julian Kornhauser’s recent work in a new arrangement, touching upon most of Kornhauser’s major subject matters, formal strategies, and thematic concerns, giving American readers the opportunity to discover one of Poland’s most important contemporary writers and critics. Grosse Pointe Farms: Marick Press, 2009.

Born in 1946 in Gliwice, Poland, Julian Kornhauser is a poet, novelist, literary critic, and translator of Serbo-Croatian literature. One of the major figures of the New Wave poetry movement of the early 1970s, he has been awarded many honors for his work, including the European Poetry Prize and the City of Kraków Prize. A long-time resident of Kraków, Julian Kornhauser is a professor at the Jagiellonian University.


Julian Kornhauser writes of “the miracle of the pillow with four corners,” a button “deprived of its thread,” a “piece of glass” flecked with blood—the luminous things of the world that reflect with haunting precision our precarious relationship to the “expenses and losses” of beauty. Piotr Florczyk introduces American readers to one of Poland’s most significant contemporary poets in translations that bring alive Kornhauser’s lines with a thrilling immediacy.

—Michael Collier, author of An Individual History: Poems

I am grateful to Piotr Florczyk for the precision with which he has rendered Julian Kornhauser’s poignant, pared down poems that take place in the narrow space between the word “been” and the word “gone” (“but so much happened there”). These ruthless short lyrics cut experience back to the bone.

—Edward Hirsch, author of The Living Fire: New and Selected Poems