|MILOSZ BIEDRZYCKI (MLB)
© Marta Eloy Cichocka
Milosz Biedrzycki (known by his pen name MLB), was born in Koper, Slovenia in 1967 to Polish and Slovenian parents. He grew up and was educated in Poland, obtaining a master's degree as a geophysical engineer from the University of Mining and Metallurgy in Krakow, Poland, a field in which he remains active.
MLB debuted in 1989 becoming a leading member of a group of Polish poets disdainfully labeled the "O'Harists." Inspired by new Polish translations of New York School poetry by Frank O'Hara, Allen Ginsburg, John Ashbery, and Kenneth Koch, they welcomed this moniker and began publishing their iconoclastic verses in the underground journal bruLion during the last years of Communism. Seeking a new form of poetic language for the post-Communist age, in an atmosphere of postmodern skepticism of the grand Polish Romantic idea of the poet-prophet, the "bruLionists" rebelled against the philosophical posturing of older postwar poets like Czeslaw Milosz and Zbigniew Herbert, and the moralism of the Generation of '68, represented by Stanislaw Baranczak or Adam Zagajewski.
Since the bruLion era, MLB has published over six volumes of verse, * (Poland, 1993), OO (Poland, 1994), Pyl/Lyp (Poland, 1997), No i tak (Poland, 2002), Slonce na asfalcie (trilingual Slovenian-Polish-Italian edition, Slovenia, 2003), "Sofostrofa" i inne wiersze (Poland, 2007) 69 (bilingual Polish-English edition, Poland, 2006; USA: Zephyr, 2010).
His poems have appeared individually in Slovenian, Italian, German, Spanish, Catalan, Czech and Russian, and have been published in English in Chicago Review, Fence, Trafika, and Zoland Poetry; in the Zephyr anthology Carnivorous Boy, Carnivorous Bird: Poetry from Poland. His first English-language collection, 69, (the number of poems in the collection) is just out from Zephyr Press. With poet Ewa Chrusciel he has translated the poetry of Jorie Graham and Lorie Swenson from English into Polish. Biedrzycki has maintained his Slovenian connection, particularly as the Polish translator of the distinguished Slovenian poet, his mother's brother, Tomaz Salamun.
He is the winner of the Grand Prix of bruLion Poetry Award (Poland, 1993); the Best First Book of Poetry from Czas Kultury (Poland, 1994); the Nowy Nurt Poetry Award (Poland, 1995), the City of Krakow Arts Fellowship (Poland, 1996). His recent collection, Sofostrofa i inne wiersze was shortlisted for Gdynia Literary Prize (Poland, 2008).
With Biedrzycki's Fall 2010 residency, the Polish Cultural Institute resumes the long tradition of Polish participation in the prestigious International Writing Program at the University of Iowa dating to the program's beginnings in 1966 and continuing with such distinguished writers as Julia Hartwig, Ewa Lipska, Janusz Glowacki, Jerzy Pilch, Hanna Krall, Marzanna Kielar, Piotr Sommer, and many more.
Read some of Milosz Biedrzycki's poetry in English translation on his website
Read Joanna Nizynska's article on the O'Harists (requires JSTOR access for full text)
Purchase Milosz Biedzycki's 69