front cover of Contraband of Hoopoe
Contraband of Hoopoe
Ewa Chrusciel
Omnidawn, 2014
Contraband of Hoopoe explores issues of dislocation, immigration and desire. Chrusciel invents a poetics of smuggling as she crosses national, historical and linguistic borders. The migratory narrative is distinctly errant, haunted by a childhood lived under a Communist regime, by the austerity of Eastern block politics, and by the possibility of discovering a fleeting language to carry the seeds of illicit revelation, spiritual transformation, and insight. The book elevates smuggling to a noble art, recording how the Jewish people were hidden and transported during the Holocaust. Chrusciel tracks a series of historical objects and secret messages that immigrants throughout history have been sneaking through customs, past border checkpoints, and across the seas.

front cover of Strata
Ewa Chrusciel
Omnidawn, 2018
In Ewa Chrusciel’s first book in English, Strata, an exile’s memories are . . . at once a rapture of possession (of being possessed) and defeatingly untotalizable. Strata is . . . a tumultuous revelation of how much of the past there still is, right here in the near flight of letters, and of the burn of being in time at all, the difficulty of catching up with oneself in a universe that is never one, but always scattered. Strata is a book of concuspiscences, of combings for pleasures, yes, but even more for the Sacred Book it wants to be. In its every line, it shows that the rhapsodic is the right approach to the truth about the world. —from the foreword by Calvin Bedient Praise for Ewa Chrusciel’s poetry “With a wonderful insistence, each phrase in Ewa Chrusciel’s prose poetry can be experienced as a moment of transition, of what Emerson would have called a darting aim. “Whenever we visited, my grandfather would put his chair on the road and wait,” Chrusciel writes. “Kraina na Bosaka. We were the apparition of deer. Pray, why chase each stalk of wounded light?”’ —Tony Brinkley, Boston Review

front cover of Yours, Purple Gallinule
Yours, Purple Gallinule
Ewa Chrusciel
Omnidawn, 2022
Lyrical satire that imagines mental illnesses as various bird species.
Ewa Chrusciel’s fourth book in English, Yours, Purple Gallinule, playfully explores health and illness as they are culturally constructed. Using research into clinical understandings of mental afflictions and their treatments through history, Chrusciel maps various diagnostics onto an array of bird species. A lyrical satire, the book is a reflection on a society that tends to over-diagnose, misdiagnose, and over-medicate. These poems pose questions about what it means to be unique and to accept pain and suffering as a fact of life.

On the pages of Yours, Purple Gallinule, we encounter birds, a poet, and a psychiatrist. The psychiatrist undergoes a series of conversions as she realizes that the point is not to classify thoughtlessly, but to “make music instead”—to dwell in astonishment. Birds evade the anthropomorphizing intentions of the human protagonists as the psychiatrist and the poet eventually become one. The anthropomorphizing goes in reverse, and the human being becomes more avian. Like the dove in the biblical Noah’s ark story, the bird proclaims a new covenant, with a twig in its beak and a message: “We are all mad; some more than others, but no one is spared the affliction. And the madder we are, the more sacred.”

Send via email Share on Facebook Share on Twitter