This Week's Arts Cover: Stanislaw Baranczak

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Polish poet Stanislaw Baranczak and his wife.

This week's Crimson Arts cover story is about Polish poet and Harvard professor Stanislaw Baranczak. The piece focuses on Baranczak's careful negotiation of his political responsibilities to his country and his own desire to write for writing's sake. Here's a poem by Baranczak that didn't make it into the article but is still worth a read:

SETTING THE HAND BRAKE

In an empty suburban parking lot, setting the hand brake,

he wonders what it actually was that brought him here

and why on earth he was never able not to succumb

to the clichés of sorrow, familiar to all who practice

the invisible craft of exile. There always will be a homeland

of asphalt under the chilly streetlamps, a homeland of rusty crossties

under a pair of rails, which likewise can count on meeting

in infinity only; a homeland that comes along and apart,

that rushes forward with him in the canyons of floorboard cracks

and lights in strangers’ windows, and his veins, and trajectories

of galactic explosion. What is it that still holds him here,

pins him down, encloses him in the circumference

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