Barbarians in the canon?
The article is an attempt to analyse the bibliophilic poetic series “Barbarzyńcy i nie” [“Barbarians and not”], published by Artur Burszta in 1997–1999 in Legnica, in the context of creating the canon of modern Polish poetry. The present author focuses on some more interesting works in the series and the series reception in literary criticism. The article deals not only with the content of books by Tadeusz Pióra, Andrzej Sosnowski, Tomasz Majeran or Wojciech Wilczyk, but also with the circumstances of social and literary life that accompanied their publication.
Particularly interesting is the story of the publication of Steppenwolf by Wojciech Wilczyk, who — despite being a contemporary of the so-called “brulion generation” — did not make his debut until 1997 with that book, the poetic diction of which encourages comparisons with the most famous poet among those born in the 1960s, Marcin Świetlicki. Just as fascinating is the poem Cover by Andrzej Sosnowski, which was regarded by many critics as a creative paraphrase of Frank O’Hara’s In Memory of My Feelings, though Sosnowski himself denied that the American poet had influenced his writing. Tomasz Majeran’s Xięga przysłów [The Book of Proverbs] is an exceptional work, too, when compared with poems written both at that time and today.
Today it seems that the series editor tried to create the canon of the latest Polish poetry, referring to such important phenomena as the category of “barbarians” or brulion’s purple series. The attempt, however, was not successful.
The paper contains an index with bibliographic information concerning all works published in the “Barbarians and not” series.