Wednesday, May 16, 2007

ryszard kapuscinski

This photograph is by the late Ryszard Kapuscinski, and very likely destined to become the cover of his poetry collection, to be published by Biblioasis this fall. It's had several working titles: it came with the title Ecce Homo, which I did not like; we've titled it tentatively The Things of this Earth, which we love, but which Ryszard seemed less keen on, as he was afraid it might get confused with one of his reportages. The translators have most recently come up with the title I Wrote Stone: The Selected Poems of Ryszard Kapuscinski; I Wrote Stone is the title of a short aphoristic poem, and may well work as a title for the whole.

We were originally going to commission a linocut portrait of kapuscinski, but I find this photo so striking I think it needs to be the cover image. I love the human footprints interweaving with the animal in this cracked and barren landscape.

Kapuscinski's poetry will be interesting especially to any who have read and loved his works of non-fiction. It is thoughtful, philosophic, often aphoristic; engaged morally and politically with the world around him.

It was his deepest wish to see this collection before he died: we did not at the time expect there to be any need to rush. I spoke with him on the phone in September, and all seemed well; he talked to the translators about coming to Canada and the US in support of the collection. How wonderful that would have been! But he died in late January rather unexpectedly, from complications arising from surgery.


Zachariah Wells said...

I like "I Wrote Stone" far better than "The Things of this Earth" (kind of cliched-sounding) and "Ecce Homo" (already the title of a book by Nietzsche). "I Wrote Stone" sounds odd and is arresting, far more likely to make a potential reader pause and take a look, I think.

biblioasis said...

The Things of This Earth is from an Augustine quote, Confessions, I'm not sure. But yes, I'm beginning to think of the collection with that title. Thanks for the thoughts.


Anonymous said...

Dan, I'm delighted to learn that you'll be publishing this collection and look forward to it. I think the photo is a superb image and will make a great cover.
Maureen Harris