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WW1 poetry in Poland


Trevek 26 | 1,702  
6 Feb 2009 /  #1
I recently had an idea of doing a project based on British/German/Polish First World War poetry and songs.

Problem is that nobody I ask seems to know of an Polish poetry. I usually get pointed towards the Piłsudski Legions, which isn't quite what I want.

I apprciate that Polish soldiers were in (at least) 3 different armies but does anyone know of any poetry from 1914-1918 (or 1919) relating to the war which was written by serving soldiers or civilians at that time?

Thanks.
Piorun - | 658  
6 Feb 2009 /  #2
Edward Słoński at that period created some patriotic poetry like “Ta, co nie zginęła”, “Już ją widzieli idącą”.

Władysław Broniewski He was a soldier in Polish Legions. Although I can’t remember any of his poems from that period of time I do recall learning “Bagnet na broń” in grammar school.

“Kiedy przyjdą podpalić dom,

ten, w którym mieszkasz - Polskę,

kiedy rzucą przed siebie grom

kiedy runą żelaznym wojskiem

i pod drzwiami staną, i nocą

kolbami w drzwi załomocą -

ty, ze snu podnosząc skroń,

stań u drzwi.

Bagnet na broń!”

And others I’m sure, you just have to look harder that’s all.
OP Trevek 26 | 1,702  
6 Feb 2009 /  #3
Thanks, I'll look 'em up.

I think the problem is that I'm quite specific about what I want, in that I really want soldiers' poetry, equivalent to Wilfred Owen etc in English.

I think for most of the people I ask it is a new concept.
Piorun - | 658  
6 Feb 2009 /  #4
Well both of them were soldiers. One more that comes to mind is Wilhelm Apolinary Kostrowicki although he was French his mother was Polish and I do believe he was a soldier.
OP Trevek 26 | 1,702  
6 Feb 2009 /  #5
Cool. Thanks.

On the literature side, is ther a Polish equivalent to "All Quiet on the Western Front"?
Piorun - | 658  
6 Feb 2009 /  #6
I don’t think so, but poetry is not my strong point. One thing that you have to keep in mind is that Polish poets at that time had a different perspective on the war itself, they were preoccupied with the notion of creating independent Polish state and were heavily influenced by Polish romanticism so their styles of poetry might not be exactly what you are looking for.
ladykangaroo - | 165  
7 Feb 2009 /  #7
I usually get pointed towards the Piłsudski Legions, which isn't quite what I want.

Why? They were soldiers after all and got their own kind of poetry reflecting the spirit of the times and specific circumstances. If you try to compare German and Polish poetry of that time you have to keep in mind that theatre of war did not reach too far East and Poland was to a large extent excluded from it; that people's lives were influenced in different ways (for example draft procedures were different); that soldiers and recruits came from various backgrounds and waged their small wars in dramatically different circumstances.

I would say that you won't get much stuff resembling Owen's style till WWII, when war really hit Poland and left its stamp on everyone.
OP Trevek 26 | 1,702  
15 Feb 2009 /  #8
Why? They were soldiers after all and got their own kind of poetry reflecting the spirit of the times and specific circumstances.

Well, I specifically want WWI because, as Piorun says, the agenda is different after that time (and to some extent during). In WW1 we had Poles fighting in 3 armies (at least), often against each other.

I'm not only working with Owen, after all, there's nobody else like Owen even at the time. Sassoon, Graves etc will also be used. What I want to look at is common themes amongst soldiers during that period. In British war poetry there are several shifts in style over the period of the war and I am curious to see if similar things happened

If you try to compare German and Polish poetry of that time you have to keep in mind that theatre of war did not reach too far East and Poland was to a large extent excluded from it;

Sorry, I can't agree with that. Poland did not exist as a country for most of the war and all parts were under the control of the three main powers, Austro-Hungary, Germany and Russia. I live in Warmia-Masury (at that time part of Germany) and the area is littered with WW1 cemeteries. Indeed one of the largest battles of the war was the battle of the Masurian lakes (Tannenburg) which happened in the area. Likewise the south has it's share of cemeteries, with campaigns in Galicia etc. One of the most famous books about the war, "Good Soldier Szwejk" is set in that area.

It is precisely the comparison between the Eastern and Western Fronts which I want to examine.

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