Mistress of the short form, Bargielska is renowned for jump cuts in subject matter and playful syntax, equally at home with colloquial diction, philosophical enquiry and religious references. With forensic precision, her poetry examines the landscapes of quotidian existence, our disappointments and humiliations. However, in her dual role, she is also writing from the inside. Stereotypes of womanhood, sexuality and motherhood are invoked only to be ripped apart. Narratives are shot through with lyricism, despair and, at times, near mystical exaltation. She is witty, tongue-in-cheek, achieving a humour both self-deprecating and macabre. In her work, death is increasingly present and implacable.
It is very fitting then that a selection of her poems – translated by Maria Jastrzebska – have finally been published in English by radical socialist pree Smokestack Books. We could not be more thrilled to officially launch The Great Plan B!
Born in Warsaw in 1977, Justyna Bargielska has published eight poetry collections and four works of fiction. She won the Gdynia Literary Prize twice – in 2010 for her poetry collection Dwa fiaty (Two Fiats) and in 2011 for her short fiction, Obsoletki (Born Sleeping) – and, among many other awards, the Rainer Maria Rilke poetry competition in 2001. Her most recent collection is Selfie na tle rzepaka (Selfie against a field of rape) from Biuro Literackie, 2016. Her literary drama Clarissima was premiered in Zakopane in 2014. She’s a co-author of a picture book Obie. Her most recent publication is a collection of children’s short stories Siedem przygód Rozalii Grozy. She lives in Warsaw and teaches at the Jagiellonian University in Kraków.