The Folding Star and Other Poems, a bilingual collection published in the prestigious Lannan Translations Selection Series, is a triumphant volume of poems that revises our understanding of Polish poetry in the United States. The steady gaze, surgical precision, and syntactical richness of Gutorow’s poems speak to unhurried and lasting meditations, which, in their turn, beg to be revised time and again. Rochester: BOA Editions, 2012
Jacek Gutorow is an award-winning poet, translator, and literary critic. He has published six books of poems. He is also a devoted essayist and literary critic, a winner of the prestigious Ludwik Fryde Award (granted by the International Association of Literary Critics). His translations include books by Simon Armitage, Wallace Stevens and Ron Padgett, as well as work by Henry James, John Ashbery, Charles Tomlinson and Mark Ford. He lives in Opole, where he teaches American and British literatures at the University of Opole.
What is a lyric poem but “one great abbreviation” of “The river is looking out for the other shore. / Me.” It is with that sort of sly economy that Jacek Gutorow creates his speakers—and raises them up off the flat world of the white page and walks them over to the center of the stage where they stand and give utterance to our shared experiences: we talk, we think, we act, we travel—and we try, over and over again, to give voice to the impossible ineffable—that category that contains everything from the sad fact of wall shadows to the awful chaos of expectations. Jacek Gutorow’s poems are Stevensian in their propositions but inimitably his own. We are fortunate to now have them in English so that we who don’t read Polish can now read these, and enjoy their insight and wry wit. And their wonderfully distilled new way of saying.
—Mary Jo Bang, author of The Last Two Seconds: Poems
There are dreams that are uncertain, wrapped in flux. And then dreams that are more precise and finely hewn than waking life: more mysterious for that, but part of reality, not its other–as sharp and painful as Bergman films. Jacek Gutorow’s poems are like this, if far more compact: childhood orchard in a snow globe, recollection as super-realism. This is a remarkable collection of work, with an incomparably sustained emotional tonality: expansive because of its great compression, its moving contradiction. “At the end / a boy will flaunt the torch /and set the whole world ablaze.” But with poems: a coruscating and cold fire
—Joshua Clover, author of Red Epic