M I C H A Ł C H O I Ń S K I
p r o c e s s n o t e s
I’m not usually in the business of commenting on my published work. The poems either stand for themselves, or they don’t. If they do, the emotions and the experience lie with the readers; if they don’t, I have failed as an author, and I should not have released a given poem. However, I don’t mind exploring certain elements of the writing process itself. So, I guess I need to start with the obvious: I’m not a native speaker of English, and yet I write poetry exclusively in English. I have never written a poem in Polish (although I do write articles and essays on music and literature for Polish journals). The choice of English as the code of expression seemed natural, almost instinctive, and I have oftentimes reflected on my own proclivity to employ a language that is foreign to construct images, tropes that engage notions which stem from the Polish culture. In my chapbook, Gifts Without Wrapping (Hedgehog Press), I even use Polish names, cultural rites, as well as references to meaningful locations in Poland. I guess English is for me a membrane, a translucent lamina which generates just enough space for me to reflect back on what I explore in my poetry, a glove that prevents me from getting my hands too dirty.