Edward Stachura

Edward Stachura: Introduction

Edward StachuraEdward Stachura (1937-1979) was one of the most interesting writers of the Polish postwar generation. Like many artists, he had a heightened sensitivity to experience, and he lived a life that was short and at times unbearably intense. Stachura lived his art as much as he wrote it. He spent his life searching for that which lies beyond facts, beyond acts of sensual experience, beyond the signs of printed words. He wrote his life as long as he lived it, but was never satisfied with the way words conveyed reality. His last book, Fabula rasa, is an attempt to bridge the gap he saw between literature and life. It opens with the following note to the reader:


This book is not for reading. This book is for discovering. What is in this book to discover? This among other things, but first of all, that each book is always only a book; that all words are always only words; they are never what they—with more or less success—try to describe.

This book is a description of something that is. That something is the immortally living life. You can discover it if you don't get stuck on words, if you don't choke on words, if you don't suffocate with words and rest on the word as in a coffin. If you get lost farther, beyond the word, beyond the grave.


This Web site  has three main sections: information about Stachura's life, a collection of images, and a sampling of his work in translation. The section about the writer's life includes a brief timeline and translations of two short pieces: an autobiographical sketch and "A Letter to the Remaining"—a leave-taking poem Stachura wrote just before his death. A copy of the manuscript of the poem is included in the images section, with about forty photographs. The translations include a selection of poetry, four short stories, an excerpt from the novel Axing, and a commentary by Andrzej Moszczyński—the writer's friend and a character in one of his books. All translations are mine.