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This report is taken from PN Review 154, Volume 30 Number 2, November - December 2003.

Diary from Poland David Kennedy

In States of Fantasy, a searching account of literary studies and nation, Jacqueline Rose poses some uncomfortable questions about translation: 'Who passes into English? Who decides? And at whose expense?' Rose's questions were very much on my mind as I flew into Warsaw one Saturday in May this year as a guest at a British Council supported symposium 'Cultural Identities' at the University of Ló^dz. Some of my poems were being translated into Polish for the first time and, together with Nuala Ni Dhomhnail, Douglas Dunn and Menna Elfyn, I was cast as a representative of aspects of British and Irish poetry. Translation, Rose goes on, is 'part of a mythmaking process, framing and binding our access to what we like to think of today as a wider, more inclusive literary and cultural world'.

Our arrival seemed to write us not into myth but into history. A news report I watched in my room at the Europejski Hotel told me the weekend marked the seventieth anniversary of Nazi book burning. The weekend was also the final, fevered phase of pro- and anti- campaigns for the referendum on Poland's EU membership. This was hard to put together with the view as our plane had come into land: large arable areas clearly organised on a strip system of land ownership. The tangible presence of history and a sense of Poland as a continuing resurrection of and rebirth from the past was underlined by a three hour guided tour of ...


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