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Sliwinski, Piotr

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Gazeta Wyborcza - Poland | 20/12/2005

Poetry in Poland

"A war is raging in contemporary Polish poetry, the ferocity of which literature has not seen in years." These are the dramatic opening words of Piotr Sliwinski's analysis of a literary debate triggered by the recent publication of two books on the Polish market. It's a battle between the "conceptualists", who believe in pure lyrics untethered from the description of reality, and the "realists" who see this as their duty. "Perhaps the real conflict is between those who regard language as an insatiable monster that devours people and the world, and those who make use of language despite this, to give the world a voice, even if it's only a superficial one," Sliwinski speculates. In the end, it's all the same – whether you use stylistic games to describe reality or write as if you didn't believe you were doing anything more than simply writing a poem, he concludes.

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