The Words Beyond the Words

Bill Johnston is a prolific Polish language literary translator and associate professor of comparative literature at Indiana University. His work has helped to bring English-speaking readers to classic and contemporary Polish poetry and fiction. In 2008 he received the Found in Translation Award for his translation of new poems by Tadeusz Różewicz; this book was also a finalist for the National Books Critics Circle Poetry Award.

Wieslaw Myśliwski’s Stone Upon Stone is a grand epic in the rural tradition–a profound and irreverent stream of memory cutting through the rich and varied terrain of one man’s connection to the land, to his family and community, to women, to tradition, to God, to death, and to what it means to be alive. Wise and impetuous, plain-spoken and compassionate Szymek, recalls his youth in their village, his time as a guerrilla soldier, as a wedding official, barber, policeman, lover, drinker, and caretaker for his invalid brother. Filled with interwoven stories and voices, by turns hilarious and moving, Szymek’s narrative exudes the profound wisdom of one who has suffered, yet who loves life to the very core.

You can meet Bill Johnston at Magers & Quinn–7:30pm, Thursday, January 20. Details on this and all our events are here.–David E