One Poem, Two Translations and a Few Questions… Still by Wisława Szymborska and its Contexts

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Janusz Wligóra


The poem Still by Wisława Szymborska was published in 1956, at the end of a violent political transition in Poland. The poem, further included in a collection
of poems Calling out to Yeti fi ts into a hard-hitting, settling pattern of Szymborska’s works. Bearing in mind social and political context of these times, the author of the article interprets the poem as a voice of poetry in issues such as the Holocaust or anti-Semitism in Poland during the war or post-war period. The analysis also focuses on translation challenges. The author refers to two translations of Still in order to fi nd out what remained out of translational reach in English versions of the poem, which not in the least was at translators’ fault. He pays attention not only to rhythmic and sound features of the poem but also to untranslatable game with tradition. The richness of intertextual connections is especially visible through numerous allusions made by the poet. Most of them refer to the pre-war masterpiece of children’s literature – The Locomotive by Julian Tuwim.


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Literary studies