Firebird (Paperback)

Firebird By Zuzanna Ginczanka, Alissa Valles (Translated by), Alissa Valles (Introduction by) Cover Image

Firebird (Paperback)

By Zuzanna Ginczanka, Alissa Valles (Translated by), Alissa Valles (Introduction by)


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Energetic, formally audacious poems by a recently rediscovered Polish writer, shining examples of art as resistance.

Zuzanna Ginczanka’s last poem, “Non omnis moriar..." (“Not all of me shall die”), written shortly before her execution by the Nazis in the last months of World War II, is one of the most famous and unsettling texts in modern East European literature: a fiercely ironic last will and testament that names the person who betrayed her to the occupying authorities as a Jew, it exposes the hypocrisy at the heart of Polish nationalist myths.

Ginczanka’s linguistic exuberance and invention—reminiscent now of Marina Tsvetaeva, now of Marianne Moore or Mina Loy—are as exhilarating as the passionate fusion of the physical world and the world of ideas she advocated in her work. Firebird brings together many of Ginczanka’s uncollected poems and presents On Centaurs, her sole published book, in its entirety.
Zuzanna Ginczanka (1917-1945) was a Polish-Jewish poet and satirist. Born in Kyiv, Ginczanka was raised in Rowne, where her parents settled after fleeing from the Russian Civil War. Ginczanka was highly active in the Skamander poetic group, and her writing for Szpilki and Skamander magazines earned her a reputation as one of the most talented poets of the interwar period.  In 1936, Ginczanka published her only volume of poetry, O Centaurach (About Centaurs). In 1945, Ginczanka was arrested and executed in Krakow, shortly before the end of World War II. 

Alissa Valles is the author of the poetry collection Hospitium. Her translations include Zbigniew Herbert’s Collected Poems and Collected Prose and Ryszard Krynicki’s Our Life Grows, which was published by NYRB Poets.
Product Details ISBN: 9781681377308
ISBN-10: 1681377306
Publisher: NYRB Poets
Publication Date: August 22nd, 2023
Pages: 80
Language: English
"The poems in Firebird sound startlingly contemporary…both sharp-sensed and sharp-tongued. Firebird, which contains no juvenilia, cannot be seen as presenting Ginczanka as an object of study…it leans into her anger." —Lily Meyer, Poetry Foundation

"The brief, cataclysmic life of Zuzanna Ginczanka would be enough to draw English-language readers to this compelling volume. But Ginczanka’s poems speak for themselves in Alissa Valles’s thrilling translations. Should there have been a longer life and more poems? Of course. ‘I leave no heirs,’ Ginczanka writes. Not so. Her ‘magnificent estate’ returns to life in Valles’s inspired versions.” —Clare Cavanagh