Written in the Margins: Zuzanna Ginczanka’s Poetry in English Translation – A talk by Anna Muller, Ph.D., and Mira Rosenthal, Ph.D.

April 7, 2022, 1 PM ET

Written in the Margins: Zuzanna Ginczanka's Poetry in English Translation - A talk by Anna Muller, Ph.D., and Mira Rosenthal, Ph.D.

The webinar is presented as part of the Tadeusz Solowij Lectures of the Kosciuszko Foundation.

An interwar poet of Jewish heritage, Ginczanka (1917-1944) was a sensation in the 1930s and gained acclaim in a Warsaw literary milieu dominated by men. With her early death at the hands of Nazis during WWII, her work fell into obscurity until the last decade, when a wave of renewed interest led to numerous books and exhibitions about her in Poland and across Europe. Though she published only one full-length collection during her lifetime, her Collected Poemsreaches over 300 pages and conveys the distinctiveness of her voice—a voice cut short in its prime. Critics often note the sensuality, androgynous motifs, and lyricism of her early poems, which became increasingly marked by satire. Such themes arise, in part, from the “double bind” she experienced of being admired but also exoticized for her Semitic beauty during a time period when fascism was taking root in Europe.

Placed into context to reveal tensions of gender and race, and the time period’s mounting political conflict lurking under the surface, Ginczanka’s work proves to be insightful and even revelatory. Her prescient warnings about the nature of fascism deserve attention in the English-speaking world, where fascism and authoritarianism, misogyny and gender, ethnicity and race are still very much part of our public discourse.

Anna Müller is Associate Professor of History, and The Frank and Mary Padzieski Endowed Professor in Polish/Polish American/Eastern European Studies at the University of Michigan-Dearborn. She holds an M.A. from the University of Gdańsk, Poland, and a Ph.D. from Indiana University. Dr. Müller is the 2019 recipient of The Polish Institute of Arts and Sciences of America’s (PIASA) Oskar Halecki Polish History Award for her book If the Walls Could Speak: Inside a Women’s Prison in Communist Poland (New York: Oxford University Press, 2018). Dr. Müller is the President of the Polish American Historical Association (PAHA).  MORE


Mira Rosenthal is a past fellow of the National Endowment for the Arts and Stanford University’s Stegner program, and her work appears regularly in such journals as Poetry, Ploughshares, Harvard Review, PN Review, Threepenny Review, A Public Space, and Oxford AmericanHer first book of poems, The Local Worldreceived the Wick Poetry Prize, and her second book, Territorial, was selected by Terrance Hayes for the Pitt Poetry Series. Her translations of Polish poetry include Krystyna Dąbrowska’s Tideline and Tomasz Różycki’s Colonieswhich won the Northern California Book Award and was shortlisted for numerous other prizes, including the International Griffin Poetry Prize and the Oxford-Weidenfeld Translation Prize.


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