Night Truck Driver
Author: Marcin Świetlicki
Translator: Elżbieta Wójcik-Leese
Publisher: Zephyr Press (2021)
One of the most versatile and rebellious poets in Poland, Świetlicki takes us into streets, cafes, rooms, and conversations where—with his signature dark glasses—he ponders metaphysical questions in the minutiae of daily life. These are poems about life, forgiveness, communication, love, death, and time: in the slit of a mailbox, he sees “Not the light but / the galloping Now.” The poems have an urban edge and bite, and Świetlicki has recorded many of them as lyrics with his rock band. The collection, his first to be translated into English, culls work from all twelve of his published volumes.
“I’ll be thinking about these poems for days and months to come—in particular, the solitary line of the final poem hasn’t stopped replaying itself in my head: 'And this can’t be done endlessly.' This can’t be done endlessly, can it?"
"The Kraków poet Marcin Świetlicki—a legend in Poland, with his own rock band and twelve collections under his belt—is only now having his moment abroad. His first collection in English offers sharp, edgy poetry translated with a granite expertise by Elżbieta Wójcik-Leese—it’s so relentlessly dark and overtly pessimistic that, bizarrely, it’s even funny in places."