By Bronka Nowicka
Translated by Katarzyna Szuster
This book is a moving reminder of a child’s perspective; a child who is surrounded by unmagical things; things that are sad, ugly, serious or just ordinary. It is that lens of a child that breathes magic into them.
In her audacious debut To Feed the Stone, Bronka Nowicka offers writing that is both timeless and timely. Using the language of folk narrative, like Italo Calvino, Russell Edson and Jan Svankmajer before her, Nowicka’s prose poems take us through the stark and disorienting world of a child––a world that excavates the border of appearances in a constant search for the essence of connection. The poet reconfigures the dynamics between people and objects, cause and effect, the body and the outside world, and the tenuous boundaries between death and life. As Nowicka’s child-narrator poignantly observes after discovering the body of a dead family member: “Her head was hanging over the armrest, her mouth open wide as if, with her whole body, she was taking the last photo of this world.”
"Disciplined, sharp-as-a-knife, cutting poetic prose... It is a dark tale, full of anxiety and unanswered questions (...). This is a book that stays with you for a long time after reading. ” -Nike Award jury member, Tomasz Fiałkowski
“Every so often a writer comes along who shows us what literature can and perhaps is meant to do — offering not so much a different perspective as a different way of seeing. A writer whose work inhabits a space undetermined by convention, trends, topics of current interest, unafraid to put aside the noise of daily life and explore the unnoticed –– unseen because ignored –– life that is nevertheless fully within our grasp. A writer who captures the human by engaging the beings that share the world with us and bringing forth their voice. Bronka Nowicka is a mystic writer, poet, and filmmaker who converses with objects so that we can hear and understand what they are telling us. Hers is a world of myth –– our own –– in deep conversation with science and with our time.” ––JP Apruzzese, LIT Magazine
Bronka (Bronisława) Nowicka is a Polish theatre and TV director, screenwriter, poet, and interdisciplinary artist. She is a graduate of the National Film School in Łódź, Poland, and the Krakow Academy of Fine Arts. Her literary debut, Nakarmić kamień (To Feed the Stone) was awarded the 2016 Nike Literary Award and the Złoty Środek Poezji (Golden Mean of Poetry) award. In 2017, she was a laureate of the New Voices from Europe project.
Katarzyna Szuster is a translator. She earned her M.A. in English studies from the University of Łódź, Poland, and was a lecturer at the Department of Foreign Languages, University of Nizwa in Oman. She has translated various Polish poets into English, such as Miron Białoszewski, Justyna Bargielska, and Bronka Nowicka. Her translations have been published in Aufgabe, Free Over Blood, Moria, Biweekly, Words Without Borders, diode, Toad Press, Berlin Quarterly, Seedings, and Tripwire.