The rooftop garden of this stunning University of Warsaw library is not only beautiful but also a symbol of Poland’s blossoming capital city – and of the resilience of Polish intellectual life.
2011 Vol 3. No. 2 — Summer
It’s easy to say which nation has the fastest trains (France) or the largest number of prime ministers who’ve probably been eaten by sharks (Australia), but it’s impossible to know which country has the best writers, let alone the best poets. Even so, if cash money were on the line, you’d find few critics willing to bet against Poland.
– David Orr,
The New York Times,
July 29, 2007
Isabelle Sokolnicka concurs, and thinks the language may have something to do with it.
Private Wojtek really was a member of the Polish II Corps, saw action at Monte Cassino, Ancona and Bologna. As one Italian newspaper put it: Wojtek l’orso che libero l’Italia. Wojtek now has a monument in Edinburgh and in Poland. Rome, anyone?
A 16th century mayor of Warsaw was a Scottish immigrant. In the 1940s, and again this century, Scotland has welcomed Poles. Time to renew this “auld acquaintance… for auld lang syne.”
By the time the Scots and the Poles renewed their acquaintance during World War II, “the Poles often began by assuming that the Scots were a sort of English… and the Scots in turn by assuming that Poles were a sort of Russian.” A temporary misunderstanding that soon led to a solid friendship.
A new translation of eerie stories by contemporary Polish writers. From PIASA Books.
Lauren Redniss’s poetic biography glows in the dark, not with the garish light of fluorescence but with the mysterious, deep inner light of radium.