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    Jarosław Marek Rymkiewicz, outstanding poet and critic, extraordinary patriot, passed away

    The poet, essayist, playwright and literary critic Jarosław Marek Rymkiewicz, has died at the age of 86.

    Rymkiewicz was the son of Władysław Szulc, of German and Polish origin, who changed his name to Rymkiewicz (writer), and Hanna Baranowska, of German and Tatar origin (doctor).

     

    As a poet, he was influenced by the Classical and Baroque traditions. He has received numerous awards for novels, essays, and translations, including the Koscielski Prize (1967), the S. Vincenz Prize (1985), and the Polish PEN Club Award. His volume of poetry “Zachód słońca w Milanówku” received the prestigious Nike award in 2003.

     

    Although Rymkiewicz was primarily a poet, he was better known as the author of two significant novels that contributed to two of the most important debates of the 1980s: on martial law (1981) and on Polish-Jewish relations. The novel Rozmowy polskie latem (1983) deals with the meaning of Polishness and the pursuit of independence. More impressive was Rymkiewicz’s second novel, “Umschlagplatz” (1988). Instytut Literacki, the largest Polish émigré publishing house, originally published the book in Paris in 1988, because it could not be published in communist Poland. It was reissued several times by underground publishers in Poland but was not officially published until 1992 after the Communists lost power in 1989. It has been translated into French (1989), German (1993), and English (1994).

     

    As an essayist, Rymkiewicz focused on Polish history (the period of the Partitions, World War II).

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