Stéphane D'Amour, Montréal, Canada, February 2014
I read your book with great pleasure. I was glad to find in many poems that abstract quality that has come to embody Polish poetry's signature over the years.
Anna Janko - Afterword to the book "An Overdue Letter to a Pimply Angel" (2014)
translated by Ewa Hryniewicz-Yarbrough
There is something in these poems which – despite their apparent simplicity – makes
them get under one’s skin, where they begin to complicate themselves, acquire non-
verbal values and even descend into madness. We don’t sense all that when we
read them the way we read everything. . . We can undoubtedly appreciate the
intellectual quality of this poetry, take in its subtle and by no means feminine
emotions, discover its linguistic schemes and their shadows, and beneath the
restrained narration discern a certain implicit lushness of its second plane. . .
Sabahudin Hadžialić, Sarajevo 21.03.2013
The effect is that we pause at the end of the line without finishing a complete phrase, sounding as if we are short of breath or being "strangled," by material evidence just as the author is. So the meaning is confusing syntactically, but lucid sonically.
Paul Scott Derrick, January 2013
Keats' negative capability fluidly inserts itself into the Cityscape of Rome in "The Eye of John Keats in Rome" by Krystyna Lenkowska. The poem projects a poet going into the mind of a poet going into the mind of the surrounding world. The translator of the poem from Polish into English has clearly done a very good job.
Paul Scott Derrick
Universitat de Valencia, Spain
Steve Yarbrough, February 18, 2007
The dexterity with which she jumps from one image to another can be breathtaking, as can the sheer beauty of her language.
(Steve Yarbrough, writer) ... m
o r e
Janusz Szuber, Sanok, 5 may, 2006
Krystyna Lenkowska has managed to achieve what is pursued
by all consciously creative writers: her own unique diction.
(Janusz Szuber) ... m
o r e
the ending of 'Epiphany' caught me off guard. the vulnerability
expressed in the poem is nice. real. immediate.mine.
(erik burns, poet, actor, teacher, Toronto, Canada)
John Guzlowski (American poet and retired university professor
I was very much impressed by the poems, especially Flatfish
and A Man Wearing a Cap. Both were extraordinary, but A Man Wearing
a Cap was especially so. It's strong images and it's apparent simplicity
were elements that spoke to me. A Man Wearing a Cap reminded me
of the poems of one of my favorite Polish poets, Tadeusz Rosewicz.
You have the same willingness to face a world gone wrong, and smile
I enjoyed "Eve's Choice" very much. Especially "Fragility,"
"Conversation about Snow," "For the New Century,"
"They Come They Go."
Your voice sounds like it has the kind of authority that comes from
several thousand years of close observation of what we do to each
other and what we feel when we feel. You could be Sappho or some
Roman woman writing poems in the 5th century AD and sealing them
up in jars so they can be buried behind the house.
I like the world of your poems: the snow, the oak trees, the fir
trees, train stations and museums, shops and bathtubs. The fingers
that are like spring twigs that are like Edith Piaf.
I really enjoyed the book and your voice, and look forward to reading
the other book.
Marzena Broda: Afterword, "Eve's Choice", PIW
This collection, without doubt, will be well received by readers
who can discern and contemplate the fragile interior of the poems
included in Eve's Choice Their author, Krystyna Lenkowska,
has earlier published four collections of poetry, but like the American
poets Anne Sexton and Amy Clampitt, she had a late debut. However,
given the publishing situation in Poland , her debut may well have
happened at the right time.
(Marzena Broda) ... m
o r e
Introduction to Krystyna Lenkowska's reading in Ann Arbor,
Univeristy of Michigan (May 8, 2005), published in NOWA OKOLICA
POETÓW, no 17 (2/2005)
Lenkowska's poetry, almost heartbreakingly intimate and quotidian,
engages critically with this pronouncement by demonstrating that
the wheel of births and deaths is anything but monotonous. Poems
like Pochodnio, Różo "O Torch, O Rose" or Dzika "Wild" assert the
power and the mystique of the feminine, poised somewhere between
the irresistibly sensual and the ecstatically dangerous. Who are
you, asks the poetic voice half-baffled by the question itself -
"holy adulteress, bloody Lady Macbeth, wreath of thorns," poisonous
"hemlock," or "perhaps life itself"?
In other poems, life is both precious and fragile, flaring upwards
like a strong flame, then flickering low when its fire has been
spent. In that sense, Lenkowska's work ponders not only the secrets
of Eve, but more universally the mystery of individual human existence
caught in the cycles of renewal, passing, and extinction.
(Sylwia Ejmont) ... m
o r e
Introduction to Krystyna Lenkowska's Poetry Reading at California State
University , Fresno by Ewa Hryniewicz-Yarbrough (April 28, 2005)
Krystyna Lenkowska belongs alongside those Polish women poets
who like the young poets of the sixties generation believe in the
poetic imagination and in the personal superseding the public. Although
the publication of her first book of poetry coincided with the "Barbarian"
anthology, generationally, philosophically, and aesthetically she's
closer to the poets born after the end of the second world war.
Like the poetry of other women poets, her poems display existential
and literary self-awareness, as well as wry humor and irreverence.
At the same time her poetic voice is uniquely her own. One reviewer
of her previous collection said "The critic who will try to point
out [Lenkowska's] artistic (and also generational) affinities .
. . most probably won't find them." The woman in Lenkowska's poems
is a modern woman who feels affinity with other women in myth, art,
history; a woman who is not shy about her sensuality, who doesn't
feel that she needs to make amends, but who often painfully feels
her loneliness. Yet without this sense of separateness she wouldn't
be able to create her own interior space. And without others she
wouldn't know her loneliness and her desire for togetherness. Krystyna
Lenkowska's poems are personal but never confessional. Even in the
poems with concrete locales and details, the speaking "I" isn't
particularized. There's distance and elusiveness.
(Ewa Hryniewicz-Yarbrough, "Desire for separateness
and desire for togetherness are not contradictory")
o r e
FRESNO NEWS, California State University, USA (11.04.2005)
(.) Lenkowska's poetry is original, imaginative,
and "quintessentially feminine." The rich legacy of Polish poetry,
including the work of Czeslaw Milosz, Wislawa Szymborska and Zbigniew
Herbert, has left an indelible imprint on Lenkowska (...) But she
also consciously sets out to do something different. She's drawn
to different subject matter (.). There's much more of an edge of
contemporary experience". (.)
(Steve Yarbrough, an endowed professor of Creative Writing,
prose writer, prizewinner of California Book Award and Pushcart
Prize, recently nominated to Pen-Faulkner Prize, FRESNO NEWS, California
State University, USA, April 2005)