The Poetry of Julian Tuwim
Julian Tuwim lived from 1894 to 1953. He was a translator and dramatist but is best known for being one of Poland's most renowned poets.
Tuwim was part of a group of poets who met in a cafe called the Picador, where they formed a new movement called Skamander. Skamander championed a new type of poetry, a "poetry for the street."
According to an article by Barry Keane, "the subject matter of their early poetry focused on the man in the street and general questions of identity in the newly independent Poland. Whether they were ultimately successful was debatable, but attempts by Julian Tuwim, above all the other poets belonging to the circle, to place ordinary people in the arena of literature was both revolutionary for its time and remains one of the poetic highlights of 20th century Polish literature."
Tuwim was my great-grandmother's brother. During World War II, he escaped from Poland and lived with my great-aunt and her family in Manhattan. She apparently appreciated visits from the distinguished artists and members of the intelligentsia who came to see Tuwim but said that Tuwim himself wasn't exactly easy to live with. Such is the artistic temperament! Tuwim returned to Poland after the war.
I have always had a difficult time finding Tuwim's poetry because it has seldom been translated into English. I did discover this poem. Although it was written in 1929, it shows an eerie foresight into today's events.
plastered billboards scream with slogans
by Julian Tuwim, 1929
P.O. Box 580 New York, NY 10113