Leszek Engelking

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Leszek Engelking - Warsaw (Poland), November 5, 2004

Leszek Engelking (born February 2, 1955 in Bytom, Upper Silesia, Poland) - Polish poet, short-story writer, critic, essayist, scholar, and translator.

He graduated from Warsaw University (1979). He received his doctorate in 2002, his postdoctoral degree in 2013. From 1984 to 1995, he was a member of an editorial staff of "Literatura na Świecie" ("Literature in the World"), a Polish monthly devoted to foreign literature. From 1997 - 1998, he was a lecturer at Warsaw University and a visiting professor at Palacký University, Olomouc (Czech Republic). He now teaches at Łódż University in Poland.

Member of Stowarzyszenie Pisarzy Polskich (Association of Polish Writers, from 1989), Polish PEN Club (from 2000) and of the Société Europeénne de Culture (from 1994).

He lives in Brwinów (Poland).


  • The Award of "Literatura na Świecie" for translation (1989, 2003, 2009),
  • The Award of Polish Translators’ and Interpreters’ Society (2000)
  • Premia Bohemica (the Czech prize; 2003)
  • Polish PEN Club Award (2010)


He has published six collections of poems:

  • Autobus do hotelu Cytera (A Bus to the Cythera Hotel, 1979)
  • Haiku własne i cudze (Haiku by Myself and Others, 1991)
  • Mistrzyni kaligrafii i inne wiersze (The Mistress of Calligraphy and Other Poems, 1994)
  • Dom piąty (The Fifth House, 1997)
  • I inne wiersze (And Other Poems, 2000; new and selected poems)
  • Muzeum dzieciństwa (Museum of Childhood, 2011)
  • Komu kibicują umarli?, (For Which Team Do the Deceased Root?, 2013)

A selection of his poems have appeared in Ukrainian translation (Vid ciogho ne vmirayut’ [You Can’t Die from This], 1997), as well as in Czech (Jiné básně a jiné básně"Other Poems" and Other Poems, 1998) and Slovak (Zanechala si otlačky prstov na mojej kožiYou have Left Finger-Marks on My Skin, 2005). A small collection of his poems was published in Spanish (Museo de la infancia - Museum of Childhood, 2010).

Leszek Engelking with Czech writer and translator Vaclav Burian - Warsaw, Łowicka Center, May 20, 2006

Two leaflets with his poems in English translation have appeared as well. These are: Your Train the Local, Reading, Pa 2001; and Paulina’s House, Reading. Pa 2002, both translated by Craig Czury.

A volume of his short stories Szczęście i inne prozy (Happiness and Other Short Prose) appeared in 2007.

He also published the monographs Vladimir Nabokov (1989), Vladimir Nabokov - podivuhodný kouzelník (1997, in Czech) and Chwyt metafizyczny. Vladimir Nabokov - estetyka z sankcją wyższej rzeczywistości (2011, The Metaphysical Device: Vladmir Nabokov – Aestethics with the Sanction of Higher Reality), as well as Surrealism, underground, postmodernism. Szkice o literaturze czeskiej (2001), and Codzienność i mit. Poetyka, programy i historia Grupy 42 w kontekstach dwudziestowiecznej awangardy i postawangardy (2005), devoted to Czech Group 42, an anthology of British and American poetry, Wyspy na jeziorze (The Lake Isles, 1988), an anthology of Czech poetry, Maść przeciw poezji (Ointment against Poetry, 2008) and a translation of Vladimir Nabokov's novels Invitation to a Beheading (1990), Despair (1993), King, Queen, Knave (1994), Ada (2009), and The Original of Laura (2010) and a collection of stories by the same author, Nabokov's Dozen (1995).

He has also translated M. Ageyev’s Novel with Cocaine (1996), Daniela Hodrova’s novel Podobojí (Bread and Blood, 2001), Jáchym Topol’s novels Sestra (Sister. City. Silver, 2002), Noční práce (Night Work, 2004) and Kloktat dehet (2008), Ezra Pound’s book of essays Spirit of Romance (1999), Nickie Roberts' history of prostitution in Western societies Whores in History (1997), Miroslav Holub's volume of essays Troubles on a Spaceship (1998), Charles Bukowski’s book of poems Love Is a Dog from Hell (2003), and Christopher Reid's book of poems Katerina Brac (2001, in collaboration with Jerzy Jarniewicz), as well as selections of poems by Ezra Pound (Poezje wybrane [Selected Poems], 1989), Nikolay Gumilyov (Tramwaj zbłąkany i inne wiersze [The Stray Tramway and Other Poems], 1990), Petr Mikeš (Dom jest tam [The House Is There], 1991), Ivan Wernisch (Cmentarz objazdowy [A Travelling Cemetery], 1991), and Pchli teatrzyk [Flea Theater], vol 1, 2003; vol. 2, 2007), Ivan Blatný (Szkoła specjalna [Special School], 1993), Agneta Pleijel (Anioły ze snu [Angels from a Dream], 1995), Oldřich Wenzl (Słyszę kroki ementalera [I Can Hear the Steps of Emmenthaler], 1996), Miroslav Holub (Wiersze [Poems], 1996), Richard Caddel (Mały atlas klimatyczny duszy [A Short Climate-Atlas of the Soul], 1996), Václav Burian (Czas szuflad [Time of Drawers], 1997), and Egon Bondy (Dzisiaj wypiłem dużo piw [I Have Drunk a Lot of Lagers Today], 1997), and Jiří Kolář (Sposób użycia i inne wiersze [Directions for Use and Other Poems], 2010).

In addition, his selection of short stories by Ladislav Klíma appeared in 2004 (Jak będzie po śmierci [How It Will Be after Death]) and his translation of Michal Ajvaz’s book of poems, short stories and a novel was published in 2005 (Morderstwo w hotelu Intercontinental. Powrót starego warana. Inne miasto [The Murder in the Intercontinental Hotel. Old Monitor’s Return. Other City).

Engelking is also a co-translator of various books including, among others: Maximilian Voloshin, Poezje (Poems, 1981), Jaroslav Seifert, Poezje wybrane (Selected Poems, 1986), W. B. Yeats, Poezje wybrane (1987), W.B. Yeats, Wiersze wybrane (Selected Poems, 1997), W.B. Yeats, Dramaty (Plays, 1994), Ezra Pound, Pieśni (The Cantos [selection], 1996), Gerardo Beltrán, Krótki pejzaż z cieniami (The Short Landscape with Shadows [poems], 1996), David A. Carrión, Kłopoty urodzonego we wrześniu (Troubles of a Man Born in September [poems], 1996), and Pavol Országh Hviezdoslav, Dzieci Prometeusza (The Children of Prometheus [selected poems], 1999).

He has also translated poems by Basil Bunting, Amy Lowell, Hilda Doolittle, William Carlos Williams, Langston Hughes, Kerry Shawn Keys, sor Juana Ines de la Cruz, Federico García Lorca, Abel Murcia, Sergei Zavyalov, Iryna Zhylenko, Lina Kostenko, and Andrei Khadanovich.

He is an associate of the American journal Paideuma devoted to Ezra Pound, the Czech journal Slavia and the Polish monthly Tygiel Kultury

Engelking's poems, short stories, essays, papers, reviews, and translations from English, Russian, Czech, Slovak, Ukrainian, Belorussian and Spanish appeared in various anthologies as well as in many Polish, American, Canadian, Czech, and Slovak periodicals. Translations of his poems have been published in English, Chinese, Czech, French, German, Japanese, Lithuanian, Russian, Serbian, Slovak, Slovene, Spanish, Ukrainian and Upper Sorbian, translations of his short stories have appeared in English and Czech.

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