- Poland -
Patryk Kosenda (b. 1993) comes from Kraków. He is the founder and editor of Stoner Polski, an art magazine that combines the avant-garde, psychedelia and activism. Kosenda wrote two books of poetry: Robodramy w zieleniakach (Robodramas at the greengrocers’, 2019) and Największy na świecie drewniany coaster (The largest wooden coaster in the world, 2021). The latter was shortlisted for the Gdynia Literary Award.
Kosenda is the winner of several poetry competitions and holder of the Kraków UNESCO City of Literature Prize. He belongs to the A. Fredro Kraków School of Poetry.
Patryk Kosenda (b. 1993) is a Polish poet, editor, one of the founders of Stoner Polski magazine and lover of animals. He currently lives in Kraków, where he is an active member of the local literary life, for instance taking part in meetings of the Aleksander Fredro Kraków School of Poetry. Kosenda wrote two poetry books: Robodramy w zieleniakach (Robodramas at the greengrocers’, publ. by Korporacja Ha!art, 2019) and Największy na świecie drewniany coaster (The largest wooden coaster in the world, publ. by Wydawnictwo KONTENT, 2022). He prepared the graphic design of the latter with Stefa Marchwiówna. Prior to his debut, Kosenda won the Zbigniew Herbert National Poetry Competition three times (2016–2018) and was twice shortlisted for the main prize in the Jacek Bierezin National Poetry Competition (2017, 2018). The design of his debut book was awarded in the 12th edition of the Połów competition organised by the Literary Bureau. In 2021, Kosenda received the Kraków UNESCO City of Literature Prize, which enabled him to publish his second book, recently shortlisted for the Gdynia Literary Award (2022).
When talking to Grzegorz Smoliński about his volume awarded in the Literary Bureau’s Połów project, Kosenda mentioned that the dynamic nature of his poems, filled with references and neologisms, corresponds to the contemporary way of acquiring knowledge, based on using several sources activated all at once. The author also underlined the importance of having a variety of such references, ranging from the rather peculiar to strictly academic ones. He further described his poems as reflecting – often in a distorted way – his attitudes, anger, powerlessness and fear.
Robert Rybicki called Kosenda’s debut, Robodramy w zieleniakach, the funniest and most daring poetry book of the last decade. Most critics spoke favourably of this volume, including Anna Mochalska, who said that the poet was testing the possibilities and pliability of the language, juxtaposing idiomatic expressions, ossified linguistic forms, fragments of texts by other authors, portmanteaus, pretend slips of the tongue and many others. The excess, glut and satiety of these robodramas, while shaping their sense, do not impact the poems’ clarity. To quote Paweł Kaczmarski, “rather than being a self-serving measure, the strangeness of Kosenda’s poems is meant to tell us something about the strangeness of the world (...); it is a form of communication”. His poetry can be read in many layers: first as a collection of exciting and edgy linguistic measures, then as a bold commentary on the contemporary world. Another reviewer, Paulina Chorzewska, notes that one of the non-literary media backing Kosenda’s work is film. The author concurs, often mentioning film at literary meetings as the key inspiration behind his weird fiction poetry.
Kosenda’s poetic prowess seems positively limitless: the Gen Y lol factor of his poems satirises the rules of capitalism and offers new systemic solutions, all the while avoiding literary imitations and superficialities. As Jakub Sęczyk wrote, the author demands freedom that would be unthinkable in previous conditions, changing its point of reference from a literary statement to a postulated possible reality.
Kosenda’s subsequent book, Największy na świecie drewniany coaster, attracted similar attention from critics. The author’s characteristic poetics, based on experimenting with the phrase and bending the possibilities of language, is also visible here. What changes is the subject matter of the poems. Coaster rides the wave of a psychedelic trip, perfectly rendered in the poetic fabric. Yet this is not just a literary game (though for Kosenda, providing entertainment is one of the main creative values); the trip hides fear, anxiety, a racing rollercoaster of emotions. To quote Agnieszka Waligóra: “what is most touching about the discussed project is the lack of fear to express fear – and while it would be difficult to call it therapeutic poetry, it does the work of […]experiencing and accepting emotions”. Also striking in this volume is playing with characters such as Scooby Doo and Harry Potter, who were part and parcel of the childhood of Kosenda’s generation. Like in his previous book, the author also gently satirises the culture that grew around tacky Polish songs and sayings, adding literary collages built from children’s rhymes and banter. Wojciech Kopeć mentions that one of the interpretive tropes of Największy na świecie drewniany coaster, apart from individual elements of people’s lives being taken over by the capitalist system, is a reference to Dadaist methods of creation, such as using the avant-garde collage technique. To quote the critic: “[Kosenda] portrays a world that is completely subjugated to authority, be it economic or religious, while trying to convince the reader that describing this world, rooted in the real here and now, is only possible by unlocking the revolutionary potential of surrealist language”.
It seems that the multi-layered nature of Kosenda’s poetry could have also influenced the Gdynia Literary Award jury. As jury member Barbara Klicka spoke in her congratulatory speech, “these poems will use every opportunity to have fun. Their words rub against each other, benefiting from the joy of assonances and highly unexpected combinations. This is not to say, though, that Kosenda does it as an empty, futile gesture. In this book, we will also find moments […] that provoke a poignant feeling that there is something truly eerie lurking behind all this fun”. We are left hoping that many more readers will have the pleasure of riding fast and loose with Kosenda’s poetry, as the author is already talking of work on a new book!
Author: Weronika Janeczko
Translation: Aleksandra Szkudłapska
The Come and Go Wild Room / Pokój Zdziczeń
What is Cage doing on your biceps, sir?
MobyPussy slipped the pile of condordats off onto the rug of parsley.
Old sweat trinkets mumsily, but it pinches.
And clings like a stallion to virility.
Black mermaid from the line, mate! Kiss’n’sniff!
Make poverty history, cheaper drugs now!
And what on earth are these folks riding on a fussy wisent [bovine wino]?
Should it piss me off that the Abandonee is not so abandoned, after all?
Cupbearer [rattle, rattle] tries to sell me artifakes:
– an ancient red brass bucket
– a woven ice hole
– a bedrock for matter
I purchase relics of the Solar Boar
astral knickerbockers and a boarproof hair shirt.
Tails wag like pagan browsers’ tongues
and upon the manage you defile the good name of incest.
You can kiss my lips.
Samaelinho Overloads / Samaelinho przeciąża
In a crater I was entertaining decrepit hashtags and „eruption” sounded sillier to them than „peekaboo”. Yes: muddy peeping, prudence of a damper gone sour. Yes: What I’m trying to say here is that seemingly nobody wants to be slain, so what’s the point [AGAIN, WHAT’S THE POINT?!] of this collective, elegant off-the-beaten track for the humation of pompoms? Yes: what I’m trying to aim at is lumpiness. It’s not even that these days old anarchos dance on cherry stems, that zodeacons pump their juniper genitals with shavings in their mouths, that these robust lads feasted on head cheese with icing, icing with scraping. Holy Hum! How they were skimming these agitations. You know: I don’t like harm, all this ceremonade bending. It’s like a pudding totem, like turtlemouth eyelids of these ancient lads, like protoweedhobomentalism. We have this little communion joke: Slay with me [laughter, coughing, indistinct audio]. You are brutally reserved, but what would you do, if you were sentenced to a crowd of hermits fucking jaffa cakes in the refuge for reactors? You have to bury the wild inside of you and think about the icing. Think about the icing.
Die-break / D o g o r y w k a
Your neighbor’s sapper recognized Cow and Chicken’s father in me. It’s not our roar. What they called the line of evil, was just an eyelash of a fragile cyclops. The shape of stench, the twitch of barbed wire, the suicide vestibule. I wanted to write a poem called Lost Chances: there were no people among the victims, but I guess somebody has already done that. Someone should have done that long ago.
Kaboom? The Anointed! Crystal slick.
Of course, there’s not enough cooks in the kitchen, only the shaman and the wild kettle. Where are the ancient throngs of the hardcore, the pharisees, the normies and wackos? How hard did language screw them out? Not our shacks. I can get you any syndrome you want, even this luxurious lack of contempt. The end will feel home-grown like a grilled chasm.
Cauldrons and Canicular Days / Kanikuły i kociołki
We dash through clouds like mandarins
like ballerina gagarins
our diaphragms are dazed by porky swarms
our visceral laugher floats like storms
of hungry and naked dementors
as we smoke helljoints and hellbends outdoors
that muggle by the lake is flying numb drones
take out your wand I can’t I’m kinda stoned
We dash through clouds like manticores
like ballerina dumbledores
Things to Do in Łódź When You’re Dead / Rzeczy, które robisz w Łodzi, będąc martwym
and murky as a bigot on alert. The drugs say:
take us from behind. I pour my dear serotonin, because
I came here to laze about. An old, little, ugly scarepelican.
I’m a chain-smoker of family cigarettes. Sometimes when I’m here,
I’m a narcoleptic flasher, because a dick in hand
is worth two pelicans in the rush. The wings as bright as the motherland light.
I want them to bird the shit out of me, so that the feed spews out my throat
and never comes back. I want to weep and dry in the rye.
Groats’ revolt pries birdies’ rage preys.
In the Savoy I reveal to the elevator operator, the one with the painted eye:
You don’t shoot at the same puppet twice.
Because why would you?
An Occasional Man / Człowiek okolicznościowy
I wanted to be an assemblager:
Fragility, a call, a sturdy crusher.
I’ll bun up my sleeves and stop breathing.
In my woods women call each other shogun names.
I want to say something that changes everything
but my task is ardous and secret.
A slimy savior soils adoration.
Spiders dance like mating nuncios,
hang genitals on your Christmas trees!
Humanity is just baby hair on the The Balls of Time.
In high spirits, I notice that you consider the royal
baby to be sick whitetrash.
In my woods the homeless can rape
the space, the convalescents wrestle in holy mud.
Give me an old man, an old woman, and I’ll dream them up a nomadic loaf.
Precisely Is How You Can Fuck Up Your World / Precyzyjnie to ty możesz sobie świat rozjebać
Our bodies smelled of tongues, when Bailiff Pikachu collected pokemons and dough.
Our tongues smelled of bodies, when a dog’s two tails broke the window with a stray ball.
Our bodies smell of tongues, when we’re sleeping like grandparents from Charlie and the Chocolate Factory.
Our tongues smell of bodies and don’t desire anything pure.
Consolation prize brings no consolation. Sure as fuck, I shall fear evil.
Peeping Tom Is Here / Podglądacz przyszedł
Don’t try to imagine this:
a dim-witted, dead coach claims
there’s no ball, just thousands of net goals,
a hooded puppet behind each
is knitting shrouds for your clouds.
An embittered bugler’s son digs up skirt on us.
With sugary stumps he’s knitting pecks for our necks.
Palpitations, cremations, big fat hallucinations.
I didn’t imagine this:
She was the only close person I’ve never asked to
fuck off. And my tears are streaming down
like pokeballs, like pokeballs, like screwballs.
Planet of the Scrapes / Planeta-skalp
I saw our cobbler around the neighborhood.
Walking alone, wearing nothing but shoes
The clatter of heels a bit out of tune
Sorry, actually it was the crimson primate
Walking alone, weranig nothing but shoes
Mumbling under his old monkey breath:
remember, rememember, when you dismember
Optimistic Rate / Radosny wskaźnik
This is not a honky-tank kind of king.
It’s fucked up that the voice of two professors
means more than a wino’s song.
Shouts rubber swine. Your old man
is fired up, he self-immolated
in some ether square. Brisk alchemy – sniff in, sniff out.
I rent out an exhalation for work and feel that
personal development killed personal development.
Be a fiascodiver if you have no fucking idea
who you want to be. A lightweight devil, a bungler,
a son of a pith. The demon is just the way
it is supposed to be – fucked up.