Anna is a poet, translator, literature co-ordinator of the European Literature Network – and a resident of coastal Ramsgate in the UK. She studied Art History in Warsaw, Film Studies in Kraków and Arts Policy and Management in London. She has worked in museums and a radio station, run magazines, written on art, film and theatre. Café by Wren’s St James-in-the-Fields, Lunchtime, her bilingual poetry book with photographs by Lisa Kalloo was published in 2020, as was Lili: Lili Stern-Pohlmann in conversation with Anna Blasiak, her book-length interview with Holocaust survivor.
What role does poetry play in your life?
Poetry is a way for me to capture moments before they flutter away. It’s like using a camera, sometimes a simple, automatic one, and sometimes a much more complicated device, requiring fine-tuning to get the snapshot exactly the way you want it.
It is also the way of dealing with issues, sometimes difficult ones, of processing them.
Recently poetry has also become a playground – formally, but also linguistically, mainly through looking for gaps/tensions/similarities/contradictions between my two languages, Polish and English.
Can you mention some of your favorite books or authors?
This keeps changing, of course. My recent fiction fascination is Nino Haratishvili and her amazing breadth of storytelling in The Eighth Life. I’m looking forward to reading her other books, in Polish for now, as they are yet to be translated into English. I love both poetry and prose by Wioletta Greg, with her absolutely amazing synthetic ability in describing the world. Other recent exciting literary discoveries are Nora Gomringer, Ulrike Almut Sandig, Mario Martin Gijón, Krisztina Toth, Inga Pizane. Always: Margaret Atwood, Irit Amiel, Haruki Murakami, Julia Fiedorczuk, Maria Jastrzębska, Martina Evans. And plenty more, I’m sure, that I’m forgetting right now.
Do you have any personal poetry moments you’d like to share?
Here is an untitled poem by Mario Martín Gijón, a Spanish poet with a mesmerizing ability to create playful linguistic layers in his verses, wonderfully captured in Terence Dooley’s translation, recently published by Shearsman Books. Gijón turns words into puzzle pieces, which he then rearranges into new images, and somehow makes it work. Amazing stuff!
“I d(r)ipped my pen
in your pain
and we(‘) d(rew/rue)
Mario Martín Gijón
How to get in touch with Anna: check out her website