This special entry is for my international readers 🙂
I’ ve promised to write about Julian Tuwim on the occasion of his tribute year. Tuwim published his first poem, Plea (Prośba) , a hundred years ago in the „Kurier Warszawski” newspaper. Eventually, Tuwim became one of the most renowned Polish writers, deeply rooted in Poland and its literary tradition. In addition to many volumes of poetry he also wrote for children. His brilliant and funny poem The Locomotive (Lokomotywa) shaped the language and imagination of many generations of Polish youngsters.
Tuwim’s poetry is famous for its incredibly rich, flexible, beautiful and elegant language which, at times, does not shy from biting or coarse expressions.
Watch and hear below:
I have the honour to present this Tuwim’s poem in an excellent and charming translation, as well as performance, by Marcel Weyland, an outstanding writer and translator.
Just a moment, please! First, kindly read Tuwim’s short bio:
J U L I A N T U W I M
Born: September 13, 1894, Łódź, Poland, into a middle-class family
Died: December 27, 1953 (aged 59), Zakopane, Poland
Literary movement: Skamander
Notable award: Golden Laurel of the Polish Academy of Literature (1935)
Parents: Izydor and Adela (nee Krukowski, shot by German Nazis in Otwock’s Gettho in 1942)
Spouse: Stefania Tuwim nee Marchew (since 1919)
Children: Ewa Tuwim-Woźniak
Relatives: Irena Tuwim (sister, a poet herself); Kazimierz Krukowski (cousin, a Polish-Jewish cabaret performer and writer); great pianist Arthur Rubinstein; Adam Czerniaków, a Polish-Jewish engineer and senator, who committed a suicide in the Warsaw Ghetto, uncle by marriage.
Most important life events:
Studies (law and philosophy at the Warsaw University.) Co-funding the literary group „Skamander” and the „Picador” cabaret. Writing for and acting as artistic director of several other cabarets. Emigration, at the beginning of WWII, to France, Brazil and finally the USA. Return to Poland in 1946, where his more modest creativity contrasted with his extensive prewar writing and performing.
Attention: behold, The Locomotive!
Last but not least: why did I name Tuwim The Most Beautiful Poet?
Maria Kuncewiczowa (1895-1989), a writer, explains this well :
Tuwim with his gorgeous mole on his cheek . Apparently this mole gave him an inferiority complex. Hard to believe. I doubt that he would have been more beautiful without the mole, since he was so attractive with it. I imagined that the Persian poet Hafiz looked just like him and I was surprised not to see Tuwim walk a gazelle on a silver chain through the city streets.
Bibliografia / Bibliography
. Czyhanie na Boga (Lurking for God, 1918)
. Sokrates tańczący (Dancing Socrates, 1920)
. Siódma jesień (The Seventh Autumn, 1921)
. Wierszy tom czwarty (Poems, Volume Four, 1923)
. Murzynek Bambo (Bambo the little Negro, 1923)
. Czary i czarty polskie (Sorcery and Deuces of Poland, 1924)
. Wypisy czarnoksięskie (The Reader of Sorcery, 1924)
. A to pan zna? (And do you know it?, 1925)
. Czarna msza (Black Mass, 1925)
. Tysiąc dziwów prawdziwych (A Thousand Real Curiosities, 1925)
. Słowa we krwi (Words in Blood, 1926)
. Tajemnice amuletów i talizmanów (The Secrets of Amulets and Talismans, 1926)
. Polityczna szopka cyrulika warszawskiego (The Political Puppet Theatre of a Warsaw Barber, 1927)
. Rzecz czarnoleska (A Tale of Czarnolas, 1929)
. Jeździec miedziany (The Bronze Horseman, 1932)
. Biblia cygańska i inne wiersze (Gypsy Bible and Other Poems, 1932)
. Jarmark rymów (Rhyme Market, 1934)
. Polski słownik pijacki i antologia bachiczna (The Polish Drunkard’s Dictionary and the Bacchic Anthology, 1935)
. Treść gorejąca (Burning Content, 1936)
. Bal w Operze ( Ball at the Opera,1936, published 1946)
. Kwiaty polskie (Polish Flowers,1940-1946, published 1949)
. Pegaz dęba, czyli panoptikum poetyckie (Pegasus Rearing, or a Poetic Panopticum, 1950)
. W oparach absurdu (In the Fumes of Absurdity, 1958)