What has made Aufgabe Magazine, and Litmus Press one of the most important places in contemporary poetry and critique is the fact that unlike so many other "avant garde" magazines they have always championed real diversity rather than a false diversity. Litmus and Aufgabe have championed the normal diversity syphers
race, gender, sexual orientation but they have also championed regional diversity and have never been a place where the anyone can feel comfortable. I know this from personal experience. As a distinctly "hetero" male I was welcomed to bring to light one of my passions- Brazilian poetry and poets to a wider audience in an earlier edition of Aufgabe. But Litmus has also brought such new and diverse poets as Mark Tardi, Roberto Harrison and Jennifer Scappettone to light and given these poets and critics a great megaphone to get their clear poetic messages before a wider audience and for that Litmus must be thanked and revered.
So now for Aufgabe 9. After the spectacular Aufgabe 8 which featured the poetry of Italy curated by Jennifer Scappettone you had to ask yourself what more could be done? Mark Tardi, my dear friend, has taken a taunting subject, Polish poetry to a new level. Mark (and by the way Scappettone as well) come at their subjects out of a motivation that is too often ignored they are members of a diaspora.
Mark Tardi is a member of the great Chicago Polonia one of the great diasporas of the last 100 years and he brings that sense to his fine curation of a great section. Tardi is a classically trained poet and critic and the fact that he went to Brown and studied with the Waltrop's does not hurt his level of taste but this editorial job is something else entirely- it is in short Tardi becoming his own poet and critic before our eyes. The fact that Aufgabe let him do this work in this way is a testament to the efficacy of Aufgabe and why as a journal it needs to continue to feed our poetic conversation.
The Polish section is divided in the following fashion;
Miron Białoszewski, Five Poems
Andrzej Sosnowski, Five Poems
Four Poems Ewa Chruściel,
Five Poems Kacper Bartczak,
The Polish Language in Extreme and Intermediary States of “Siulpet”:
Miron Białoszewski’s Erroneous Emotions
Gallery II: Erroneous Emotions Miron Białoszewski, Seven Poems Justyna Bargielska, Six Poems Miłosz Biedrzycki, Three Poems Katarzyna Szuster, Five Poems
Gallery III: Were & Whir Miron Białoszewski,
Nine Poems Monika Mosiewicz,
Five Poems Kacper Bartczak, Four Poems Aneta Kamińska, Eight Poems
As a critic it is impossible to know what these poems mean since I do not speak or read Polish but in translation a culture is displayed that all too often is ignored and not known in America even among the members of Poland's large diaspora.
Tardi has included translations of the Polish Miron Białoszewski, who if he was writing in English or Spanish surely would have won the Nobel Prize and whose obra is profound. We are talking here about a poetic light whose sound and tone needs to be shared, Tardi has done this for us at least by analogy through translation.
Tardi has also includes some new and still living Polish poets including Ewa Cruschiel and Katarzyna Szuster poets who while still in the heroic tradition of Polish writing are post modern in a way that the earlier generation were not allowed to be this is a delight for the reader.
I am totally biased of course; Mark is my friend and he is one of the poets I most admire because he does in his own work what Litmus Press has done well. Tardi is a person who while well formed has not forgotten what made him a poet and a person and this sense of groundedness fills Aufgabe 9 with a kind of clean clarity not found amongst most literary magazines so all I say is Bravo... and by the way thanks to Poland for saving Western Civilization and giving the world Jan Sobieski, Chopin, Lech Walesa and Miron Bioloszewski.