Stanisław Barańczak is a poet, translator, and literary critic. He won the 2007 Nike Award for the best work of Polish literature published in the previous year and the 2009 Silesius Poetry Award for lifetime achievement. He is a professor of Polish language and literature at Harvard University.

Hard Life with Memory

I’m a poor audience for my memory. She wants me to attend her voice nonstop, but I fidget, fuss, listen and don’t, step out, come back, then leave again. She wants all my time and attention. She’s got no problem when I …

Vermeer

So long as that woman from the Rijksmuseum in painted quiet and concentration keeps pouring milk day after day from the pitcher to the bowl the World hasn’t earned the world’s end.

Vermeer

So long as that woman from the Rijksmuseum in painted quiet and concentration keeps pouring milk day after day from the pitcher to the bowl the World hasn’t earned the world’s end.

Microcosmos

When we first started looking through microscopes a cold fear blew and it’s still blowing. Life hitherto had been frantic enough in all its shapes and dimensions. Which is why it created small-scale creatures, assorted tiny worms and flies, but at least the naked …

Cat in an Empty Apartment

Die—you can’t do that to a cat. Since what can a cat do in an empty apartment? Climb the walls? Rub up against the furniture? Nothing seems different here but nothing is the same. Nothing’s been moved but there’s more space.

An Appeal

To our Governments and to the Secretary-General of the United Nations The world must take action to bring the war in former Yugoslavia to an end. Two and a half million people have been driven from their homes in a program of “ethnic cleansing.” Thousands of civilians have been massacred.