Polish Cultural Links


Sir, - Your readers may be interested to know that Paul Muldoon, winner of the 1997 Irish Times Poetry Award, represented Ireland during the international "Meeting of Poets" in Krakow last October. Several of his poems were published in Polish cultural magazines, in English, and in Polish beautifully translated by Piotr Sommer - himself a poet, literary critic, and a pioneer in promoting Irish poetry in Poland.

Krakow has been nominated as one of nine European Cities of Culture for the year 2000. The intention of not limiting cultural events exclusively to the year 2000 was behind the major project "Krakow 2000", which began last year. The year 1997 has been designated primarily for poetry; the "Meeting of Poets from East and West" in October was the high point. It was a rare opportunity to meet more than 20 renowned poets representing 10 different countries. Honorary patrons were two Polish poets, Czeslaw Milosz and Wislawa Szymborska, winners of the Nobel Prize for Literature in 1980 and in 1996 respectively.

A perfect venue was provided by the 15th-century Collegium Maius of the Jagiellonian University; and by St Catherine's Gothic church and Temple Synagogue - both situated in Krakow's Jewish Quarter. (This may be familiar to Irish film-goers from Spielberg's Schindler's List.)

1998 will be Krakow's "Year of Music". Its honorary host, and main organiser, is the Polish distinguished composer Krzysztof Penderecki. Its most important event will take place in the autumn - the "Penderecki Festival". This will gather together the best of European musicians who will present some of Penderecki's works, with a wide-ranging programme of classical music chosen by him. An Irish contribution to the festival is also expected.

Cultural links, the developing co-operation and exchanges between Ireland and Poland, are very important as we move towards a more inclusive and meaningful Europe. These are some of the first steps. The road may be long, but we are moving in the right direction. - Yours, etc.,

Honorary member of Polish-Celtic Cultural Association in Krakow, Woodley Park, Dublin 14.