Patryk Kosenda

- 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