You can hear Maria’s poems being read in English and discussed on Radio 3’s poetry programme, The Verb, with Ian McMillan and his guests: Kate Fox, Nick Makoha, Patrick McGuinness and Basia Bogoczek-Howard. To listen to the full podcast, please go to:


Meanwhile in Poland, Maria’s play Baba-Dziwo (Weird Sister), directed by Dominika Knapik,  has opened  at Teatr Dramatyczny in Wałbrzych. The play, written in 1938, a pastiche on totalitarianism and its effects on women, has recently seen a revival and resurgence in Poland due to its eerie resonance with current political trends. You can read more here:

Baba-Dziwo plakat.jpg


When we first visited Maria’s grave, we saw lying there a small piece of slate with these words inscribed: “It’s boring here…”.

Intrigued, we searched for the phrase in her poems and found it here:


It’s boring here without you. Boring as hell!

I’m still with my squirrel, and my lapdog too,  

I write, I read and smoke, my eyes are still blue,

But this is all momentum rolling downhill.


The dawn is still grey, the dusk blue and gold,

The day rises here, the night falls over there

And habitually rose petals unfold:

So used to it, they don’t really care.


Yet the world ended. Can’t you all get it into your head?

The world is gone and I won’t recreate it.

Time is still and quiet. Perhaps I … but wait -

Perhaps I am already in the world of the dead?


Tomorrow we are going to join the Manchester Polish Poetry Festival, called “Sharing the Joy of Writing”, organised by Manchester Metropolitan University and the British Council, where we’ll be celebrating MP-J with a tour of the Southern Cemetery, where she is buried.



MP-J on International Women's Day

MP-J was part of a circle who actively championed women's rights in early 20th century Poland.

They worked towards social and political changes aimed at women's enfranchisement and empowerment.

To find out more about the historical background to this aspect of her life, go to this article, published on International Women's Day 2016 by Polish Culture: 


MP-J at Cambridge: John Hughes Arts Festival, Jesus College, Sunday 7 February 2016

The Sound Of A Heartbeat –
a poetry reading and workshop.

Coleridge Room, Jesus College, 7 February 2016 at 5.00

Maria Pawlikowska-Jasnorzewska (1891-1945) is one of Poland’s greatest poets.

She is known as ‘the Polish Sappho’.

In her poetry and her life she set out to defy convention and to explore and express the many facets of love – lyrical, romantic, tragic, satiric, compassionate...

She was a playwright too: her last play, written in 1939, parodied Hitler and his Nazi regime. When Germany invaded Poland she escaped and ended up in England as a war refugee. As her wartime poetry shows, she was a brilliant observer of the English.

Today her work and the music she has inspired will be presented by her translator in a bilingual session including audience participation.

As the world spurned Sappho,
As her creations burned,
Rosy smoke blossomed;
A wild, heavy cloud turned
And flowed down time.

My lungs draw it in with the wind:
No waste of rhyme…