Polish literature

photo: Ela Lempp

Jacek Gutorow

Gutorow was born in Grodków in 1970. He is a poet, essayist and translator of such writers like Wallace Stevens, John Ashbery and Simon Armitage. He holds an academic post at the University of Opole and has published three volumes of poetry and two collections of essays. He lives in Opole.

Gutorow’s work is very homogeneous. The shape of his poetry is influenced by his passion for the work of Wallace Stevens. His use of metaphors is rich but derivative. His subject matter is hard to define, nor is it very substantial. He creates lyrical constellations of words with solid syntax, whose meaning is dependent on a number of external elements, among which no small role is played by the sources of his references and citations. He uses a lofty style, referring structurally to the classical rules, though without being excessively scrupulous. Some of Gutorow’s poems are very beautiful, yet we cannot be sure the beauty isn’t “borrowed”, just a reflection, not clothing but a costume. Not without reason is his favourite motif the shadow cast by moonlight. Equally important is the motif of film projection, an illusion of continuous motion, a phantom presence, the temptation to turn back the hands of time.

Two discursive works supplement the poet’s bibliography. The first is academic in nature, covering the humanist aspects of deconstruction (especially in the philosophy of Jacques Derrida), such as negative ethics and theology, friendship and death. The second, more essay-like, is a pioneering application of deconstruction as a tool to describe contemporary Polish poetry. Gutorow is regarded as an expert on the work of Andrzej Sosnowski, on which he is now writing a separate book.


  • Wiersze pod nieobecność, Wrocław: Ośrodek Kultury i Sztuki, 1998.
  • Aurora, Łódź: Stowarzyszenie Literackie im. K.K.Baczyńskiego, 2000.
  • Na kresach człowieka. Sześć esejów o dekonstrukcji, Opole: Wydawnictwo Uniwersytetu Opolskiego, 2001.
  • X, Legnica: Biuro Literackie Port Legnica, 2001.
  • Niepodległość głosu. Szkice o poezji polskiej po 1968 roku, Kraków: Znak, 2003.
  • Linia życia, Kraków: Znak, 2006
  • Urwany ślad. O wierszach Wirpszy, Karpowicza, Różewicza i Sosnowskiego (essays), Wrocław: Biuro Literackie, 2007.
  • Inne tempo, Wrocław: Biuro Literackie, 2008.
  • Nad brzegiem rzeki (1990-2010), Wrocław: Biuro Literackie, 2010
  • Księga zakładek (essays), Wrocław: Biuro Literackie, 2011
  • Kartki, Kraków: EMG, 2015



  • Antologiâ na novata polska poeziâ, trans. Boris Dankov, Sofiâ: Kasiopeâ, 2006